This is the “best Peruvian food in Baltimore” as the owner suggested. Puerto 511 is on a lot of lists of best new spots, there is a good reason for it. If you have trouble figuring out where it is, don’t worry, so did we… and so did our Uber. It’s kind of hidden and on very tiny Clay Street off Liberty.
Don’t let the outside full you, the inside is charming and perfectly tiny. There are only about 18 seats. I have no idea how we snagged a table for 6 in that tiny little space about 3 hours before we arrived; we give Janet all the reservation power from here on out.
And it is BYOB, so I get to bring a few of my bottles that are too nice to drink without great friends and great food.
We did some sharing, per usual. We started with some apps. The Yuquitas Doradas and a few ceviches. These little fried balls are made from cassava, the root of the Yuca. They make a fritter out of the cassava and stuff it tender spiced ribeye, sweet raisin and botija olive (apparently an olive that I don’t hate). They top the dish with salsa criolla and baby arugula. The tasty bites are placed on top of a slightly spicy sauce made with rocoto peppers. These should be on every table, large enough to share with 3 or 4 or in our case, 6 people.
I eat a good amount of ceviche – this place has great options. Not as many options as some places, but huge portions and very intriguing flavors. We had the Clasico and the Mixto. They mix the Clasico with cilantro and red onion. This is incredibly fresh fish in a peruvian classic sauce called “leche de tigre” made from lime juice, peppers and of course the fish. The entire thing is topped with a little glazed sweet potato and andean corn. Plus, those gorgeous shrimp. They claim it is the best ceviche in the Baltimore. I don’t disagree.
This Mixto is a mix of the fish with octopus, calamari, and shrimp in a similar sauce, but served with sweet potato and a slightly sweeter sauce. If you like ceviche, you have to give this place a try.
I think we ordered one of each of the entrées. Everyone was pleased. Impressive flavors. Substantial portions.
I split the Chaufa with a friend of mine; a dish fusing Chinese techniques with Peruvian flavors. Rice fried in a wok with shrimp, octopus, squid. All the flavor of the sautéed bell peppers and scallions make this a multi-layered gave this savory dish a ton of structure and dimension. The eggs and soy sauce addition reminds me of the Chinese influence in the dish, but the sweet plantain and pineapple aji is definitely all Peruvian.
I also shared a few bites of the Arroz Con Mariscos – a Peruvian paella.An impressive rice dish with corn, shrimp, octopus, squid and scallops cooked over the flames. The addition of white wine and salsa criolla give you the Peruvian flavors instead of your traditional Mediterranean flavors. All the dishes come with the spicy aji sauce (although how spicy was definitely an argument at the table).
We then split two desserts. The Quinoa Flan and the Peruvian Toast. Both were good. The toast though. I sent it to the other end of the table for a “bite”. It didn’t come back; gone before I could blink or ask for it back.