Uptown's newest Latin restaurant, Cuzco Peruvian Cuisine (4714 Freret St., 504-345-2884; www.facebook.com/grupo5rest), is now open. The Freret Street spot opened July 23 for a brief soft-opening period while the owners rolled out the full lunch and dinner menus.
The restaurant is owned and operated by a group of friends who decided to go into business together last year: Luis "Lucho" Ampuero, Mirtha Gallegos, Monica Concha and Angelica Moscoso. Concha and Moscoso, who both hail from Peru's capital city, Lima, say the idea was hashed out last year during a group beach trip.
"We're all friends, and we work as a team, so we decided, 'Why not open up a restaurant together?'" Moscoso says. "We also felt Uptown was the best spot for that."
The chef, Ampuero, hails from southern Peru, where seafood features prominently. Ceviche, the country's most popular seafood dish, is prepared in traditional Peruvian fashion — doused in a lime-heavy leche de tigre and mixed with toasted corn, thick slices of yuca and sweet potatoes.
Other traditional dishes include causa (cold potato puree topped with chicken and seafood) and lomo saltado, a vinegary stir-fried beef dish served with onions, tomatoes, soy sauce, cilantro and thick french fries.
This week, the restaurant holds an official grand opening and the menu will expand to include seafood soups like sopa de mariscos and chupe de camarones, a shrimp chowder.
Cuzco does not have a permit to serve alcohol, but the owners say they plan on applying for one.
Cuzco Peruvian Cuisine is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.