Don Gallo is positively Peruvian
By Tammy Jaxtheimer
November 5, 2009
VIRGINIA BEACH - When traveling, I seek out the locals for restaurant recommendations. It's a way to capture the most authentic cuisine. When a new cuisine culture comes to my corner of the world, it's exciting, not to mention convenient and affordable. I recently experienced a mini food vacation on the outskirts of Lynnhaven Mall at Don Gallo Peruvian Restaurant, marked by the proud chicken on the sign.
The spacious dining room in soothing colors has wooden tables and chairs and Peruvian souvenirs, with a corner built for two with comfy chairs for Wi-Fi, casual conversation and snacking. Owners Cecilia Pancho and Jesus Pflucker have been welcoming guests since May.
Chicken and rice soup ($6) with cilantro sauce, peas and carrots, was garnished with a bone-in chicken breast. The vibrant color and aroma were too strong for my 12-year-old, but my husband and I enjoyed its unique flavor.
Papa rellena ($6) - golden mashed potato filled with seasoned beef and a "touch of raisins" served with salsa "criolla," julienne red onions, chopped tomatoes and cilantro - was appetizing, but only foreshadowed irresistible fare to follow.
Pollo a la brasa, rotisserie chicken marinated in Peruvian peppers and spices, is a house specialty offered in various combo portions and prices, from a quarter leg for $6 to a whole for $16. Crisp, savory skin protected the tender meat, delicious alone or with accompanying sauces: hot jalapeno cilantro and the cooling salsa blanca. A simple salad with lime vinaigrette was refreshing, and yucca fries were addictive with accompanying sauces.
The ceviche de pescado ($14) was delectable. Lime-marinated tilapia with cilantro and red onions had boiled Peruvian corn and twin sweet potato medallions basking in goodness. My sushi-loving 10-year-old thought it too "zippy," so there was enough to bring home.
Seasoned T-bone steak ($17), evidently too thin and difficult to serve medium-rare, remained tender and tasty with its smorgasbord surroundings - steak fries, fried-egg-topped rice and fried plantain.
Lucuma ice cream ($5), named for its fruit content, wowed my daughters. It was orange and included flesh like a mango, but the subtle sweetness we attributed to creme caramel.
Our server was friendly, informative and attentive. She well represented the Peruvian culture, even though it was not hers. When we discovered that Kazakhstan was her homeland, my daughter beamed. She had explored the culture in Girl Scouts, so donning her Kazakhstan hat is one more reason to return to Don Gallo. Titillating tastes beckon us all back.
jueves, 5 de noviembre de 2009
Hoy se publicó en el periódico The Virginian-Pilot y el servicio noticioso HamptonRoads.com una reseña de Don Gallo, que se ha ganado una fanática más - 'El cebiche de pescado fue un deleite. ...El pollo a la brasa... delicioso. ...Sabores intoxicantes [que] nos llaman de regreso':