Miguel Gomez’s philosophy of creating great Peruvian cuisine at Pisco y Nazca Ceviche Gastrobar is simple:
“We stick to our roots,’’ said Gomez, Conceptual Chef at the popular eatery in The Shops of Downtown Doral. “If you don’t have traditional dishes, people won’t come. We’re constantly reminded of going back to our roots. And that’s a good thing.’’
Gomez’s family roots go back to his native Iquitos, Peru; his culinary roots can be traced through the lineage of legendary Peruvian Chef Gaston Acurio. In 2015, the Doral-based Centurion Restaurant Group, which developed and owns Pisco y Nazca, plucked Gomez from Acurio’s La Mar Cebicheria Peruana restaurant in San Francisco to create the menu at its first Pisco y Nazca in Kendall.
“It was kind of a culture shock,’’ said Gomez, who opened the Doral location in 2016. “We started developing menu with what Miamians like to eat. That was kind of hard in the beginning because Miami is starting to grow as a gastronomic city.’’
The Pisco y Nazca restaurants certainly add to the growth. Each serve fresh, “back to our roots’’ Peruvian cuisine from open kitchens and lively, inviting atmospheres that play off the Peruvian “Pisco y Nazca’’ saying that loosely translated means “The enjoyment of libations in a social setting.’’
Indeed. Each restaurant offers deep bar menus that include such craft cocktails as the Nazca Mule (Pisco Cuatro Gallos, Fever-Tree ginger beer, fresh lime juice) and Passion Sour (Peruvian pisco sour, passion fruit purée) to go along with outstanding dinner menus that feature nine different ceviche dishes. Among them are Passion Fruit (my favorite) with fish, shrimp, passion fruit leche de tigre, cancha and choclo and Callejero with octopus, fish, shrimp, calamari, cancha, rocoto and crispy plantains.
“There is no secret to ceviche,’’ Gomez said. “Just fresh fish and fresh ingredients.’’
The Tacu & Seco (braised short ribs, cilantro sauce, ají amarillo, salsa criollah) is a terrific entrée that’s served the dinner and lunch menus. For pasta lovers, the Pasta Macho (squid ink noodles, clams, mussels, shrimp, corvina, rich macho sauce, parmesan) is a “must-have’’ on the dinner menu.
Regardless of what’s your pleasure for dinner or lunch, don’t pass on the dessert menu, in particular the “Chocolate Dome,’’ a chocolate sphere filled with sweet potato custard, caramelized popcorn and house-made ice cream. The dome is melted tableside with hot white chocolate.
It’s one of the best dessert dishes in South Florida and a perfect way to top off a “back to our roots’’ Peruvian dining experience.