First Look at Sur Latin Peruvian Cuisine
Photo by Mai Pham Ceviche just like they make it in Peru arrives in a generous portion ($13).
The prices were reasonable, with most appetizers in the $7 range and entrées maxing out at $15 for the signature lomo saltado, a stir-fried beef dish made of cubed chunks of beef, onion, tomato and french fries that you can find all over Peru. It is usually a must-order for me, a litmus test, if you will. If a restaurant does a good lomo saltado, it's a solid Peruvian restaurant in my book.
Sur's lomo saltado was well-portioned, tasty and hearty. Presented on a square white plate with a small round of white rice and french fries, the large-ish two-inch chunks of tenderloin glistened with a deep brown glaze, combining with sweet pieces of red onion and fresh tomato in a very satisfying way. Though the french fries could have been a bit crisper, I thoroughly enjoyed this dish, and would definitely order it again.
I apply the same thought process to Peruvian ceviche. Without a doubt the national dish of Peru, a good ceviche is a mandatory menu item. Served in a square bowl and topped with the traditional red onions, Peruvian large-kerneled corn (choclo), toasted Peruvian corn kernels (for crunch) and a sweet potato puree, chunks of white fish were steeped in marinade of key lime, a bit of garlic, and salt and pepper, the strong citrus acidity authentic and pleasing. I would have liked smaller pieces of fish (my preference is for a Hawaiian poke-style cut), but overall, it was a very good rendition of ceviche.
Photo by Mai Pham This pan con chicharrón sandwich was a winner.
Other highlights of the meal included a flaky-crusted empanada filled with a slightly sweet dark-meat mixture, and what will probably be a go-to sandwich on future visits to Sur, the pan con chicharrón (bread with fried pork). Served on a long white plate, the fluffy, lightly toasted round bun was topped with chunks of crisped pork and a tuft of red onions, with slices of sweet potato and lettuce. It was tasty and super-hearty, reminding me of my late-night sandwich runs during my last visit to Lima.
Finally, to the sweets. They're something you'll want to save room for. A Peruvian baker makes the selection of sweets for the restaurant daily, and they are all fantastic. Included among them is the traditional Peruvian ultra-sweet (this is how they make it in Peru) suspiro de limena, a thick, meringue-topped pudding; delicious, exotic cheesecakes (try the passion fruit or the guanabana and lucuma); caramel-filled shortbread alfajores cookies; and the traditional rice pudding topped with purple corn jelly, or arroz con leche con mazamorra morada.
Photo by Mai Pham Brightly colored walls and modern hanging lamps create a cozy space.
Sur Latin Peruvian occupies the corner space of a nondescript strip mall in Katy. The small restaurant is cozy and casual, boasting an open kitchen with a long counter and barstools, and about a dozen tables that can be arranged to seat parties.
The evening that I was there, I saw couples enjoying a casual meal, and a family party of approximately ten. At one point, the group erupted in song, singing "happy birthday" to a young girl who was smiling shyly. The scene reinforced the warmth of the vibe that had greeted me from the moment I stepped into this small but charming Peruvian strip-mall gem.