Richmond Hill is far from Peru both geographically and culturally. Yet you will feel like you are in South America once you step foot into the charming white house located at 104 Dogwood Avenue in Richmond Hill, GA. The restaurant debuted a few months ago and you will most likely find proprietor Iris Munoz-Sarria stationed behind the counter or in the kitchen with her son, passing down the Peruvian traditions that she learned from her mother in their native country. The dining room has a few tables set up for dining in house, as well as, a small patio with a couple of tables outside. The atmosphere isn’t fancy but instead feels warm and authentic, from the white board with the handwritten menu of the day to the traditional tablecloth that was spread out for us when we opted to sit outside.
Peruvian cuisine with indigenous potatoes, peppers and seafood gets influence from many countries including China and Italy. You will see similarities in many of the dishes at La Casita. We started with boiled potatoes and Huancaina (Peruvian yellow pepper cheese sauce) with boiled egg and botija olives which owner Iris, has taken every measure to ensure authenticity and ships them directly from her home country. The story goes that a woman from Huancayo invented the dish, which she served to the railroad workers who were building the high altitude railroad (Ferrocarril Central Andino) from Lima to Huancayo in the Andes. The dish became so popular that it was named after this woman, La Huancaína, whose real name seems to have been lost to history. All you need to really know is this dish is perfectly simple and you can’t stop eating it. We received direction from the chef to reserve some of the sauce to go along with your entrees, a wise recommendation.
Next we tried the ceviche made with sweet-fleshed solid pieces of white fish which is preferred by Peruvians and was presented with red onions and fresh herbs. With just a few ingredients the dish has a great balance of flavors and is the perfect starter to your South American meal.
For entrees we ordered Lomo Saltado which is a classic Peruvian dish that contains elements of Asian and American, cooking stir-fried together into one amazing dish. The beef was tender and flavorful and the fries hand cut and crispy (this dish is typcially served over noodles). We also tried the Arroz Chaufa a traditional rice dish with heavy Chinese influences made with chicken, peas, carrots & green onion. The dish is not quite as heavy as a Chinese fried rice which makes the flavors of each ingredient more pronounced. The dessert was a key lime pie that is made by a Peruvian baker in the area and was not only creamy and lovely but maybe better than any I have ever tasted. It is also important to mention that La Casita is willing and able to work with food allergies and restrictions as our meal was made gluten free upon request without hesitation.
You might not be used to saying, “Let’s go out for Peruvian,” but you definitely will once you have tasted the cuisine at La Casita Peruvian Restaurant in Richmond Hill.