China Chilcano is gunning to be your new lunch spot. Their recently revamped lunch menu isn’t aiming to please the overly fancy expense account crowd. Instead, they’re trying their hand at some classic and trendy lunch staples, aiming to lure in your average business person (and/or tourist) who would otherwise be forking over $10 for a salad at Chop’t. This might not be your new everyday lunch spot, but if you’re looking for a sit down, table service meal (like when that coworker you don’t really care about wants to go out to lunch for their birthday), it will definitely scratch that itch.
The two main sections on the new menu are comprised of sandwiches and donburis, but those donburis look a whole lot like the poke / poki / pokie bowls that have popped up all over D.C. in the last few years. Love them or hate them, every once in a while, you have to admit they are kind of delicious. If you really want to dig into the poke bowl-esque options, the salmon and the tuna donburi are equally delicious, even though I personally prefer the almost buttery goodness of the salmon.
If you hate everything about the poke craze, but still want a rice bowl, the unagi and the Maestro Wong should set you straight. The unagi, made with deliciously salty and sweet grilled eel, was our favorite donburi on the menu… Until we had the Masetro Wong. Featuring warm pacific wild shrimp, fermented black beans and wood ear mushrooms, this bowl almost seems more like dinner than lunch, but the perfectly cooked shrimp paired with the meaty mushrooms is simply killer.
Don’t want to eat a ton of rice before 5 p.m.? Then bypass the donburi section and head on down to the sánguches (aka sandwiches). If you’re trying to “eat clean” or feel bad about the carbs your about to dig into with that hearty Peruvian bread, you might be tempted to go with a salad instead of fries. Don’t do it. China Chilcano’s fries are deliciously salty and perfectly crunchy. Sure, you might have to take a nap after eating all of them and devouring a sandwich, but it will be worth it, trust me. Just go into a dark conference room and sleep the rest of the day away, no one will miss you.
Sandwich-wise, I can’t stop thinking about the pollo a la brasa, which comes with tender rotisserie chicken and crunchy strips of shoestring potato that are covered in chimichurri and a bright yellow aji pollero sauce. It’s a messy dish to be certain, but the aji pollero sauce is absolutely addicting. It’s fatty and rich and everything you don’t want before you go back to work, but man is it delicious.
Wash it all down with a refreshing and summery glass of their apple based Agua de Loco and you’re set for the rest of the day.