Zarate is an iconoclast who will use anything that works to make a dish sing. He cooks with confidence — and joy. And that joy is contagious. This is one rollicking restaurant. Whoops of laughter bounce around the room. People are eating with their fingers, passing plates back and forth.
This is not a place where you have to search for the flavors; they practically jump off the plate into your mouth. Take the duck confit with spicy cilantro rice or the sumptuous black cod on a chunky sun-dried potato and tomato stew, which could be my favorite dish.Unfortunately, sweets fall short: "...desserts don't ring any bells. Why would you stuff tres leches cake into a glass, making it hard to eat, and cover it with more sweet things, including a shard of white chocolate?" Regardless, "It's no mystery, though, why Picca is rocking. Gutsy modern Peruvian cooking. Dreamy cocktails. A smart and savvy staff." [LAT]
Jonathan Gold goes ga-ga over the chiles torreados at Guisados: "But at Guisados, a taqueria in the heart of the old Boyle Heights neighborhood, chiles torreados is less a side dish than a natural phenomenon, superspicy serranos mostly, glistening and pungent, cooked with strands of onion and slyly boosted with a few slivers of what seem to be roasted habanero peppers...It is a taco that could go 15 rounds with Oscar De La Hoya. It is a taco that could play badass trumpet in a mariachi band and sing sweet love songs to your girlfriend. It is a taco that will sneak out of the house in the middle of the night to do things that no taco should ever do, but you will always take it back, because you have tasted the complexity that lies three layers down. [LAW]