The ambience of this restaurant is terrific.  It has the casual look and feel of a family-run establishment. I had made a reservation, but it didn’t seem to be written down anywhere. When we arrived, our table was not ready, and the hostess looked around the restaurant as if wondering where to seat us.  Our server was cheerful in the face of quite a bit of discussion over the menu, with its panoply of Peruvian dish names, and indecision over the appetizers.

For starters I tried the fried, stuffed baked potato called papa rellena.  It was stuffed with a bit of ground beef in tomato sauce and Peruvian spices.  The potato was perfectly cooked and the stuffing added richness and flavor.  Perfect comfort food.

For dinner, I chose the seafood paella.  I confess I picked the menu item that felt most familiar. I’m glad I did.  The rice was pillowy soft and marvelously moist.  The seafood – shrimp, clams, squid, and deep-fried tilapia – was abundant.  There were colorful shards of veggies but they paled into the background of the rice and fish.  It was served with a very mildly spiced green sauce which came in a little bowl on the side. The tilapia had a mere haze of coating, translucent over the skin, which made what I consider an inferior fish into something memorable.  I pictured the chef applying such skill and precision to achieve the perfect crisp doneness.  I had skirted around ¾ of the menu to avoid the tilapia, because I don’t like it, but got the paella anyway.  I’m so glad I did, because here it was expertly cooked and flavored by the sauce.

If that weren’t enough, my friend passed me a piece of grilled steak.  It was as tender a piece of beef as I’ve ever eaten, and deliciously spiced.

The uncomfortable part was our table of 6 was sandwiched between the half-wall by the entrance door, and the next table.  The chair of the table behind me was so close I could not at all get out of my seat without shoving past it.  Every time the door opened, we were hit with a blast of cold air. It all added to the fun, and the family feel of the place.

The end of the meal was more disappointing.  We asked for separate checks, which was met with the suggestion that we take maybe 3 checks.  We finally agreed on one check and they complained when we went to pay with 4 credit cards, saying credit cards were costing them 8%.  I know restaurants are struggling with credit card fees.  Some places like Aunt Alice’s on north Main are adding a credit card surcharge rather than raising prices.  Despite the travails of paying, I’m glad the restaurant is there.  We had a sublime meal and a good time. I enjoyed my meal at Rosario’s, our neighborhood Peruvian restaurant!


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