Peruvians know the name Chabuca Granda well. But even her aficionados might not know the late singer-songwriter’s deep cut, “Lima de Veras.”
“It’s about the old Lima–how my grandpa was living–the music, the food, the old style of living in Lima,” says Karen Anazgo of the Peruvian capital. This song inspired the name of her restaurant, which has quietly begun its soft opening in Sterling. A soft-opening party takes place this Saturday, December 4. The grand opening starts the business with a bang with a New Year’s fête on December 31.
And when Anazgo says her restaurant is at times deeply traditional, she really means it. One of the dishes on the menu is a take on pachamanca, a collection of meats cooked in a hole in the ground with heated river rocks, that traces back to the Incas. But don’t expect a menu of ancient eats. Anazgo has enlisted a family friend, Israel Laura, to work as a consultant on the business. Laura, known as a TV personality as well as a chef in his native Peru, has written a menu that includes updates of dishes like pachamanca. His version replaces the meats with seafood, all prepared in a chimichurri-style sauce of Andean herbs.
Besides creating the menu, Laura also helped enlist a pair of chefs who run the restaurant from day to day. Joao Portilla and Juan Pablo La Torre both have had long international careers. They will be the leaders in preparing a bill of fare that includes the usual Peruvian classics like anticuchos, lomo saltado, and tallarines verdes in an elevated manner, but also Asian fusion dishes. Anazgo herself inherited a Chinese heritage from her mother, and is proud to offer Peruvian-Chinese, or Chifa, dishes such as more than one iteration of fried rice, called chaufa. There’s also Nikkei, or Japanese-Peruvian fare, including a tiradito, a tuna dish that fuses Japanese and Peruvian influences in a form not unlike a ceviche.
Though she’s well-connected, Lima de Veras is Anazgo’s first restaurant. She and her husband own an auto-detailing business, but her lifelong dream has been to run a restaurant devoted to her native cuisine. For years, she kept her eyes open for the perfect space. In August, she finally found it in Sterling at the site of a former Irish pub. “There was a lot of wood around the structure that reminded me of the wood in old tavernas in Peru,” Anazgo recalls.
Now, she’s finally unveiling the result of years of planning. And we’re eager to raise a Pisco Sour to finally having Chifa and Nikkei cuisines in Loudoun County.
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