Looks good on paper

Peruvian restaurant’s product doesn’t match its enticing menu and friendly service

Kevin Legge

La Rica Vicky
540 Sargent Ave.

Meat, potatoes and corn were all I knew about Peruvian food before eating at La Rica Vicky.

Upon entering the Sargent Avenue restaurant, which is located in Desperado Mexican Restaurant & Bar’s former location, you’ll notice the bright red walls with white trim, Peruvian posters, a shiny maroon tiled bar and a large screen TV playing PBS.

There are a small number of tables and the space is clean and cozy, even though it was quite cold inside.

Pan flute chimes through the speakers and Vicky’s smile shines from across the restaurant.

Once you meet Vicky - or any of the staff for that matter - you’ll be determined to love this restaurant; they’re all so warm and inviting.

I was enchanted by the write-up in the menu about Vicky and how she has traveled through seven countries to perfect her culinary art. It also discusses the different types of Peruvian food and how the flavour combinations are a result of many different outside influences.

“Yes,” I thought. “I can’t wait.”

However, I had to wait. That’s actually indicated on the menu.

The food doesn’t arrive particularly fast because it’s all made to order by Vicky or one of her family members.

I started with a chicha morada, which is a blue corn, fruit, sugar and cinnamon drink. It was quite good.

Next, we ordered the appetizer that, as stated in the menu, we couldn’t miss out on. Papa a la Huancaina is potato and hard-boiled egg with a spicy cheese sauce, which was also good.

Once you meet Vicky - or any of the staff for that matter - you’ll be determined to love this restaurant as they’re all so warm and inviting.

I had never eaten ceviche before - a seafood dish typically made from fresh raw fish - and because it seemed to be a specialty, I ordered it as my main course.

Large kernels of toasted Peruvian corn, a slice of potato and a slice of sweet potato accompanied it.

My first bite of ceviche was good. The flavours of lime, cilantro, chili and onion were very bold.

But as I kept eating, I was turned off by the texture of the raw fish. I kept looking around the restaurant feeling jealous of everyone else’s meals.

I guess ceviche isn’t my thing.

My husband ordered a steak, potato, rice and onion dish called lomo saltado, which was good, despite being a little heavy on the onions.

After our meals, we ate alfajores for dessert, which were basically imperial cookies with maple dulce de leche filling rather than jam.

They had a light sprinkling of icing sugar on top that paired with an Inca Kola, were a nice palate recovery from the ceviche.

Notice how often I’ve used the word “good” and how I have yet to use the word “great.”

If I’m to return to La Rica Vicky, I will do lunch and choose an empanada or tamale because the main courses were a bit disappointing and not exactly cheap at $17 each. 

To my own dismay, I didn’t love La Rica Vicky and although I have changed my initial idea of what Peruvian food consists of, I wasn’t completely off the mark with meat, potatoes and corn.

Published in Volume 67, Number 23 of The Uniter (March 14, 2013)

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