When I was growing up, my family hosted a foreign exchange student from Peru. After she returned, we went and visited with her and her family in Lima and also traveled to Cuzco and Macchu Piccu. What a trip!
When Richard and I moved to El Paso, I quickly spied a Peruvian restaurant in a strip mall not far from where we live on the Westside. I was intrigued, and so was Richard. He’d never had Peruvian food but he was willing and able.
We got the chance to try out Mancora Peruvian Restaurant on a recent weeknight. We walked in and were greeted by a very nice young woman who was to be our server for the evening. The decor is very simple but has some nice Peruvian touches, including photos of Macchu Piccu. Music played in the background as we eyed the menu and made our choices.
After ordering a glass of the house red wine, we had some hard decisions to make. The menu was filled with several tempting entrees, and I debated among several. In the end, I went with the Aji de Gallina (shredded chicken stewed in a dairy-based, creamy aji amarillo and parmesan cheese sauce, garnished with a slice of hard-boiled egg and a black olive, served with steamed white rice). Richard quickly honed in on the Pollo Saltado (lean chicken sautéed with tomatoes, red onions, garlic and Peruvian spices, garnished with French fries and served with steamed white rice). We were asked to indicate to our server what level of spiciness we preferred. Richard requested “spicy spicy” (no surprise there!) and I went with the “medium spicy”.
We enjoyed our wine as the music plyed, and before long our dishes were served. I was intrigued by my entree. I have never had any dish quite like this, and I really enjoyed the delicate spiciness of this dish. Our server had informed us that the chicken stew mixture is actually served over potatoes, and I found the potatoes to add a wonderful, different texture to the stew and rice. It was beautifully plated and a real pleasure to eat!
Richard also really liked his entree. He loved that it truly was spicy, and he liked the bite-sized and well-seasoned chicken. Of course, he also loved the fries! His entree was very attractively served, as well.
I could not resist dessert (as usual). As a cheesecake-a-holic, I just had to order the Cheesecake de Lucuma (cheesecake made from a fruit popular in Peru called a lucuma). I don’t recall having this fruit when I was in Peru, but I certainly enjoyed it in this cheesecake. The cheesecake itself was quite delicate with a very smooth, light texture. It was a really nice ending to the meal.
Our server was excellent. She was always right there, just when we needed her.
We had a truly enjoyable meal at Mancora. The food and service was delicious and we also liked the simple decor and especially the Peruvian music. It was great to expand our “culinary horizons” and find such a neat restaurant so close to home.
Mancora is located on the west side at 7114 N Mesa St, El Paso, TX 79912