Welcome to this installment of the BYT ME, where every frisé, sautée, filet and brulé is out for itself.
BYT ME GRADING SYSTEM:
0 byts = wtf? i did not sign up for dog-food.
1 byt = edible. would consider eating again if on deserted island or lost in space and running low on dehydrated food and ice cream astronaut dots.
2 byts = decent at best. might eat again if haven’t eaten in a few days and nourishment was between this and belly button lint.
3 byts = eh. would eat it again. definitely if handed to me if on verge of fainting from hunger and/or at end of a sloppy evening.
4 byts = tasty. missing something, but not much. would order again.
5 byts = heck yes.
Wanna Do It? Take your date to the new Peruvian joint, Las Canteras, in Adams Morgan. It’s like having foreplay for dinner.
The food is good and affordable. The staff is affable. The décor is tight. But lots of restaurants have those qualities. What makes Las Canteras better for Doing It than the rest?
Its perfect, PERFECT lighting scheme. And by perfect, I mean perfect. First-date-worthy. Or whatever date you have to be on before you Do It. The lighting is dark enough to mask any skin imperfections, while creating sexy, suggestive shadows; but it’s light enough to catch your date’s eye while (s)he’s checking out how perfect you look in this light. For reals. I basically wanted to do my date (Svetlana) right there, she looked so damned perfect.
Besides the lighting, Las Canteras has rich red walls, dark and detailed carved-wood furniture and floors, and food perfect for sharing. Feeding one another is almost natural and not icky in this setting. (Sadly, Svet and I erased those photos…Sorry, Cale.)
For a restaurant open less than a month, the kitchen is pretty well in check. The menu is expansive, ranging from shrimp sautéed in garlic and butter, garnished with cilantro, to wok-fried French fries in a red wine and soy sauce, to classic Peruvian meat and fish dishes. The feature of the menu is quinoa, a principal grain of Peru used in almost everything (dessert too!) In case you haven’t had it, quinoa is…um…well, these grainy…things. It’s really healthy and takes on the flavor of whatever dish it’s served with, while providing this great gritty texture. It’s also full of protein – equivalent to that of chickpeas. Pretty wicked, if you ask me.
My perfectly lit date and I opted to start with the Cebiche Mixto. Cebiches are Peru’s signature dish, and feature fish marinated in citrus juice, cilantro, red onions, and hot pepper, and are served with sweet potato and corn kernels. The mixto was simply a mix of fish, and tasted fresh and flavorful and light and delicious. The potato and corn kernels on the side were interesting with an awesome, crispy texture. Perfect along side the various fresh fishes. 4.5 BYTs.
For our entrees we chose the Trio De Antichuchos, pieces of chicken and beef with a Peruvian marinade, over mashed potatoes, corn, and ensalada criolla; and the Pescado Al Horno, broiled fish served with quinoa cakes. Both dishes were pretty to look at, well portioned, and flavorful. Both dishes were also a little over-salted, which can really break it for me. But we were a little lenient because the kitchen is new and the rest of the plates were good. We gave the meat 3 BYTs and the fish 4 BYTs. We would order both again, perhaps after trying other items on the menu.
Dessert obv being a must during foreplay, we ordered two: Guava Flan and Chocolate Quinoa Cake. This flan is a little different than the ubiquitous Spanish flan. This one is much richer – almost the same texture and weight as cheese cake. It was very tasty and not too sweet, despite that custard and guava, two typically sugary things. 4 BYTs. The cake was interesting and different from anything I’ve tasted before. It’s a dark chocolate cake sweetened by honey, and the quinoa is used in place of flour. The texture and weight were very light and pleasant – a nice way to cap off dinner if you can get used to the un-dessert-like texture created by the quinoa. 3.5 BYTs.
We were very pleased with our meal, and particularly impressed by the low cost. No main courses are over $20; appetizers range from $6 for a salad to $16 for the most expensive Cebiche (average is more like $12.) And wine is totally affordable, with bottles grazing $30 to $40, and some only $20. And what goes better with foreplay then cheap wine?
Overall we give Las Canteras 4 BYTs for the food, environment, price, and overall pleasant experience. And if one of us had been a boy, we both would have gotten laid that night. Totally BYT-worthy.
Bec, your Jaded Palate, correspondent; jaded so you don’t have to be.
2307 18th St. NW
(bet. Belmont & Columbia Rds.)
Washington, DC 20009