Peruvian food has always been hard to come by in Seattle. I remember years ago when a friend told me Don Lucho’s would be opening a food cart. At the time, I could count on seeing the cart at Chuck’s Hop Shop in Greenwood. A short time later, they upgraded to a food trailer. In November 2019, Don Lucho’s opened up Don Lucho’s Restaurant and Pisco Bar in Maple Leaf. As a fan of street food, it’s always great to see the evolution of food businesses.
The food trailer offered reliable, solid options of which my favorite was the Lomo Saltado Sandwich that can still be found on the restaurant menu. It’s flamed steak with red onions, tomatoes, and your choice of sauce. I’ve said a million times that I don’t like sandwiches so if you see me eating one, it must be good!
The restaurant is spacious but since we’re in a new COVID-19 reality, I’ll focus on the two expansive patios Don Lucho’s has to offer. The front patio can be seen from the street and has spaced out picnic tables. The back patio is a bit more private with a mix of higher, bar-type tables and a few standard ones. While many are not quite ready to dine-in, quite a few are making it out for patio dining to enjoy the Seattle summer. Don Lucho’s also provides their full menu for takeout if you’re more comfortable at home.
Owner Carlo Chalisea always had a singular mission in mind: to bring authentic Peruvian food to Seattle. He’s done a great job of it over the last 7 years and is taking it up a notch with occasional guest chefs and big plans for the future.
On a sunny Friday afternoon, I visited the restaurant for a hosted meal and to catch up with Carlo. A Pisco Sour was the perfect way to get things going. It’s a Peruvian cocktail made of pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, topped with egg white with a float of bitters on top. This was paired with Cancha Salada, a crunchy, salty Peruvian snack.
Next on the list was fan favorite Ceviche, comprised of diced rockfish mixed with lime juice, onions, cilantro, aji limo and served with Andean corn and a slice of sweet potato. This is a dish I’ve gotten to know well over the years. The rockfish holds up well and I appreciate the balance the other ingredients provide. When I visited the Ceviche was served with Arroz con Mariscos, a dish they call Duo Marino. The seafood rice was excellent! I’m a seafood lover and shrimp, calamari, and mussels it the spot. Mixed with Peruvian spices, rice, vegetables and topped with parmesan, it’s hard to put that fork down. It was mild and comforting.
The dish that surprised me the most was the Pasta Huancaina & Lomo. The pasta was cooked perfectly in a creamy, decadent huancaina sauce mixed with parmesan. It was topped with flamed steak, onions, and tomatoes. The meat was tender and went perfectly with the pasta. This dish was packed with flavor!
Before I got to dessert, I took a break to sip my Chicha Morada, described as Peruvian fruit punch. It’s made with purple corn, cinnamon cloves, apples, pineapple, sugar, and lime juice. It was over 80 degrees when I visited so I appreciated this refreshing drink that wasn’t too sweet.
The finale was a tres leches cake. I usually don’t eat this when I go out but I’m glad I did. This cake is now on my top three in the Seattle region along with Tres Lecharia and Salvadorean Bakery. It was not overly sweet and completely addicting!
Don Lucho’s is a great place to capture the last of summer. Socially distant dining with appetizing Peruvian flavors are where it’s at! Check out my Instagram highlights for more on my visit.