It’s been influencing global cuisine for centuries, and Peru’s culinary excellence is finally getting the attention it deserves in our area with the recent opening of Brasa & Pisco. Owners Luis and Dante are brothers, both born in Peru, who had been at The Ritz for seven years before opening Brasa & Pisco last October. Young, passionate, yet humble, these two siblings have finally come in to their entrepreneurial spirits, influenced by their parents who both owned businesses.
“We wanted a family-oriented restaurant with our own style,” Luis said. He added that people who are undecided whether they’re hungry for Italian, Chinese, German or something else need not have to decide.
“Our culture is different in Peru – it’s a melting pot of all countries, as is the food,” Luis said.
The atmosphere at Brasa & Pisco is chic and contemporary with its use of black, stone and minimalist decor, yet warmed by nice touches of wood and plants. The fare also has its eclectic elements, from lime and pepper marinated raw fish to creamy, dreamy cheesecake, all prepared fresh by these talented chefs.
If you haven’t tried Peruvian, here’s a little primer. It reflects the country’s local practices and ingredients—like influences from the indigenous population including the Inca. But then it has its diversity in what its immigrants brought to Peru from Europe, which includes delicacies and touches from Spain, Italy, Germany, China, Japan and even West Africa. Its abundant resources – from the depths of the Pacific Ocean to the heights of the Andes, serves up innovative and diverse dishes and ingredients that should satisfy any craving.
“Peru has over 1,000 recipes or more,” Luis said. “And we add our own style.”
Brother Dante said their family has, since he remembers, always loved to cook. And they honored family. Coming from a stricter business model at The Ritz, he said they’re now enjoying a family friendly atmosphere.
“It’s almost like a family reunion every day,” Dante said. “We came from a corporate environment and now can run our own restaurant like a team…there are no bosses. Sure we have the usual rushes and roller coasters, but it goes smoother.”
Indisputably Peru’s flagship dish, diners should try the cured raw fish classic dishes. Cooks marinade fresh seafood such as sand smelt, sea bass, tuna, octopus, sole, black clams or sea urchin in lime juice before turning up the heat by adding limo or rocoto chillies. The seafood bathes in a spicy yet creamy concoction, called leche de tigre (tiger’s milk), for a few hours. (It’s been said it also cures hangovers!). Fine slivers of red onion, sweet potato, cancha crunchy corn and cilantro balance out the acidity in this heavenly, fresh dish.
Brasa & Pisco’s menu features appetizers including fresh ceviche, pork wontons, and steamed mussels topped with a fresh Pervuian pico de gallo. Entrees include quinoa risotto topped with grilled fresh fish of the day. Steak lovers will savor the Tacu tac a la Brasa, a perfectly grilled sirloin with aji panca marinade. And their signature chicken dish, Polla a la Brasa, is prepared in a special marinade and slow roasted. Several fresh, sweet finishes include Picarones – spiced sweet potato and butternut squash doughnut holes drizzled with fig sauce.
Another must try – the restaurant’s namesake – a pisco sour. Pisco is a colorless or yellowish-to-amber colored brandy produced in winemaking regions of Peru and Chile. Made by distilling grape wine into a high-proof spirit, it was developed by
16th century Spanish settlers as an alternative to orujo, a pomace brandy that was being imported from Spain. A signature dessert martini – Lucama – is a nice accompaniment to the Lucama cheesecake.
“This has been our dream for some time now, and along with our amazing team, we are ready to serve what we believe is the most innovative Peruvian cuisine on the Suncoast,” Dante said.
Brasa & Pisco is located in the shopping center just north of University Parkway at 8347 Lockwood Ridge Rd. and serves lunch and dinner daily. For more information, call 941-360-0300, or visit them at: www.facebook.com/brasapisco.
Photos by Patti Pearson