This week, Jonathan Gold recounts his pisco sour-soaked experiences at Rosaliné, chef Ricardo Zarate’s new Peruvian restaurant in the former Comme Ça space on Melrose. If Zarate’s name sounds familiar, it’s likely because the chef has bounced around many an eatery, from Mo-Chica to Picca to projects in London, before all but disappearing from the Los Angeles restaurant scene.
But Zarate’s return is strong, with cooking that is “not quite classic Peruvian and not quite fusion, but a blend that seems to incorporate both of those ideas, overlaid with the cocktails and the tropical noise I’d always associated with the pan-Latino restaurants of the late 1980s.” This translates to improvements from classic Picca dishes:
The biggest flaw of Picca, I thought, was Zarate’s attempt to position the Peruvian snack causa into a sort of altiplano sushi with cold mashed potatoes at its base instead of rice. At Rosaliné, the causa is more like a causa, fluffy whipped potatoes layered in glass with beets, eggplant, mashed avocado and aioli, slightly resembling the sand-in-a-jar sculptures you may have assembled as a kindergarten project, but with a lovely, ice cream-like smoothness and density. [LAT]
The Golster also approves of the antichuchos:
At Picca, Zarate made anticuchos, Lima-style kebabs, out of pretty much everything that could char over a flame. Here, he sticks to the traditional cubed beef heart, and like a good Miraflores street vendor, manages to make the cubed organ, crisp at the edges and singing with the flavors of citrus and the herb huacatay, taste as good as steak. [LAT]
While the Times critic notes that some of the rice dishes are “a lot wetter, clumpier than you might prefer” and the lomo saltado is “less compelling than the fast-food version tossed with French fries usually manages to be,” ultimately, Rosaliné seems like a place where “it’s hard to have a bad time.”