Monday, September 27, 2010

Chimborazo - NE Minneapolis

Going to Chimborazo has been a long time coming, and the little corner Ecuadorian restaurant has gotten a lot of stellar reviews. Mr. H and I decided to venture there for lunch on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

The interior is pretty bare bones, but we didn't expect a posh decor. We were there for the menu, which is ambitious and affordable. From ceviche (shrimp cocktail with red onion, tomato, lime, and tostados.) to Lomo saltado o pollo saltado (Stir-fried marinated chicken or beef with peppers, onions, tomato, and fried potatoes. Served with rice and avocado.) Since we were out for lunch items, we didn't get any entrees. They have pretty good lunch specials, so we centered on those and ordered.

I was seriously considering the ceviche (since I've made it but never had it out anywhere..) but Mr. H loves his empanandas, so we decided on 1 beef empanada (savory beef turnover- around $3) and 1 cheese empanada (cheese filled turnover dusted with sugar- same price.)

Beef empanada

Cheese empananda

Excuse my lack of food sophistication in this blog. I am not familiar with this cuisine, so I will describe it the best I can in general terms. The empanadas as a whole weren't remarkable. I am admittedly (possibly dumbly) baffled by the powdered sugar on the cheese one, and I found it to be bland. It's very simple, just a mild cheese inside a fried shell. The beef one was slightly more flavorful, but held the same simplicity. They were not remarkable.

MuchĂ­n de yuca (Three cassava croquettes filled with onion and cheese. Served with aji criollo for dipping-forgive me for forgetting the prices on stuff.)

These were lovely and soft. Again, not a huge flavor sensation, and I'm not familiar with yuca or cassava....but OH the aji criollo! Very reminiscent of Indian mint chutney- spicy and cilantro brightness. I could drink the stuff. It was well paired with these lush lovelies.

Llapingachos (Three cheese-filled potato pancakes served with egg and peanut sauce.)

Wipe out your pre-conceived notions of potato pancakes. These were thick little potato patties, served over fried egg and served with a peanut sauce. These were fluffy, but substantial. Very satisfactorily potato, but for some reason I can't remember I didn't care for the peanut sauce.

Sanduche de pollo (Roasted chicken with cheese and aji criollo on a bolillo roll.)

Leave it to me to order a sandwich, huh? This sandwich was above average, for several reasons. A) it was not overly stuffed with sloppy fillings. It very simply was just chopped chicken with some spices and a mild white cheese. B) it wasn't too dry, though there was not sauce on it. It's served with that awesome aji criollo, so it was very much all good. C) Somehow, they perfected toasty char on the inside of the sandwich bread like no other. Seriously, I have never had such an awesome textural contrast between the nice toasty crunch on the inside of the bread, to the soft outside and firm filling. Such a pleasing mouth feel, you want to keep eating for that reason alone. And the salad on the side was quite good. I was very impressed by their vinagrette specifically. It avoided being too tart, but stayed bright with a touch of lime. Perfect.

I definitely need to go back to Chimborazo to get an entrada experience!

-Llapingachoes. Yummy potato heaven.
-The lime vinagrette
-Sanduche de pollo (successfully good natured.)
-Lots of great looking stuff for future visits!

Not so greats
-Beef empanada
-Cheese empanada
-Atmosphere lacks ambience.

Chimborazo on Urbanspoon

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