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A number of months in the past, Shreveport-Bossier gained a shiny new mild in its little constellation of ethnic eating places when El Mono (the monkey) opened within the previous Savoie’s location on 70th Road. El Mono offers diners a glimpse into Peruvian tradition from the second they enter, with Peruvian artwork adorning the partitions. One room has replicas of the geoglyphs discovered within the Nazca Desert, one, the namesake monkey; the opposite, a mural of Machu Pichu, an historic website sacred to the Inca.

El Mono, owned by Dani and Matta Khadivian together with Fren and Navid Radnia, is the second location for the restaurant. (The primary is in San Francisco, Calif.) Utilizing conventional Peruvian recipes and contemporary, from-scratch components with no preservatives or MSG, El Mono has been delighting native diners for the previous few months.

While you take a look at the in depth menu — each vegetarian and gluten pleasant, together with a lot for carnivores — you discover an attention-grabbing mixture of components. There’s a lot of corn and different anticipated South American components like Peruvian chile (a bottle of Aji verde sauce is on each desk), but in addition components like spaghetti, rice, and soy sauce that talk to the affect of European, Chinese language, and West African cultures, amongst others.

The meals manages to be each acquainted and unique on the similar time. Firstly of the meal, every desk will get a small bowl of toasted, salted Peruvian corn. This corn, just like hominy, doesn’t have the candy taste of the fashionable genetically-engineered corn Individuals are used to. It seems as a garnish for a lot of dishes, just like the scrumptious, tartly-acidic ceviche, the place it’s served in each steamed and toasted kind.

One other acquainted, but new, taste mixture might be present in dishes like the varied Tallarin Saltado dishes, made with soy, tomato, cilantro, and onion served with spaghetti. The components are acquainted, however the total style is completely in contrast to something I’ve had earlier than.

On the appetizer listing, the Plantano (plantains) are scrumptious and straightforward to share. For calamari lovers, I like to recommend the Jalea, a mixture of fried calamari, shrimp, scallops, fish, and Cassava root served with Peruvian tartar sauce. The fried seafood is served with large wedges of lime and topped with thinly sliced, spicy marinated pink onion. My husband and I ordered the “small,” and it was sufficient to feed a a lot bigger desk as an appetizer or to function an entrée for somebody who could be very hungry. For a small improve in value, you’ll be able to feed a horde, I think about.

I’m an enormous fan of the soy, tomato, cilantro, and onion mixture served with lots of the dishes. My husband’s Saltado de Cameron was particularly tasty. It’s often served with garlic rice in addition to fried potatoes, however my husband opted to substitute the rice for quinoa.

My solely criticism the final time we visited was that I couldn’t get what I actually craved — a pleasant uncommon steak sliced atop the pasta in soy, tomato, cilantro, and onion. I may have the steak with the sauce, or I may have the pasta with effectively finished stir-fried beef. There was no wiggle room in combining the 2 dishes, and a facet of plain pasta was going to be accessible solely at a substantial upcharge.

I may perceive this somewhat higher if I had been introducing a brand new set of taste combos to the dish. Alas, I opted to eat the well-done beef as a result of I used to be actually within the temper for pasta.

The desserts I’ve tried, one a Peruvian model of flan, and one other a caramel cookie, are as lovely as they’re tasty, and there are a number of extra I’ve but to strive.

El Mono gives many pleasant choices of drinks to go together with its meals. For these preferring to keep away from alcohol, there are Peruvian sodas and juices produced from Incan purple corn or from ardour fruit—or have a Miti Miti, a mix of each. Completely satisfied hour specials can be found between three:30 and 6:00 Tuesday by way of Friday.

For these preferring a cocktail, there’s additionally a big selection of recent issues to strive, many made with Pisco, a South American brandy. I’m somewhat obsessive about ardour fruit, so I particularly loved the Peruvian model of a margarita made with ardour fruit as an alternative of lime juice. I additionally actually appreciated the Espumoso, a mix of white and pink Peruvian sangria. It had beautiful complexity of taste and was not too candy.

To high every little thing off, the wait workers is educated, pleasant, and accommodating. The primary time I ate at El Mono, my companions and I had been greeted by the very pleasant Navid Radnia, one of many homeowners, who instructed us about how he had come to Shreveport as a physicist who was a part of the set up of a brand new proton-therapy system used to deal with most cancers. He stated that he and his household had determined to settle in Shreveport as a result of they actually appreciated it right here. Shreveport-Bossier is glad they did!

El Mono: Contemporary Flavors of Peru

The place: 2400 E 70th St., Shreveport

Contact: 318-616-3600

Hours: Solar., Tues.-Thurs.: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat.: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Entrees: $11.95-$21.95

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