Ethic, But Not Asian

Gardena: El Rocoto

El Rocoto is located in a strip mall, sandwiched between a Ranch 99 Market, and Daiso discount store. There’s nothing out front to state its Peruvian (I always assumed it was Mexican, my bad). My normal go-to Peruvian place is Pollo Inka, located across the street, but a friend said to give El Rocoto a try.

We arrived on a Saturday at 5:30 pm, and the place was pretty busy. We had most of our party of 8, and they sat us early. While waiting for our straggling 2 people (who were next door shopping at Daiso!) we ordered the Piqueo Andido appetizer, served only on weekend. The description said: Peruvian appetizer of olluco, cau-cau, and carapulcra (potato dish, tripe with rice, and pork stew). No price posted on the sign, but later found out on the bill it was $21. Ouch a bit pricey.

Our server took our drink orders and then our food order. I glanced at the menu and saw they had Tallarin Saltado-beef (spaghetti beef) and a Tallarin Trozos Pollo, which the description said stir fry oriental, chicken chow mein. In all of the other Peruvian places I’ve been to, I casually say the Tallarin Pollo, the spaghetti one. I did say that but apparently something was lost in translation and 2 of us at our table received a dish with skinny chow mein noodles, not spaghetti.

When I brought it to my server’s attention, she looked genuinely upset and commented she was going to show me on the menu what I ordered. I apologized (as it was a miscommunication on both our ends) and said I wanted the spaghetti noodles. That pretty much ruined the rest of our evening, because I was too afraid to speak to her for the rest of the night, as she seemed upset at “my” mistake of not knowing what dish I wanted.

Aside from that, the food came out great. Portions are generous but not as big as other places I’ve been to. With that being said, some people may say its “quality” over quantity, and at the prices they charge, sure, people can say that. However, Pollo Inka across the street tastes just as good, fair prices, and they also give a bowl of soup on the house.

The prices at Rocoto isn’t cheap. It is pricey including their drinks. Sodas are $3.50 and coffee is even higher at $4.00. OMG I got myself another refill at that price.

Giving this place 3 1/2 stars for the confrontation I had to encounter and the price/food quality/ quantity ratio. I also didn’t appreciate them slapping an automatic gratuity on our bill. In California, you can’t add the auto -tip anymore. The server would have gotten a bigger tip if they didn’t do that. But.. since they added the tip, that’s exactly what they got.

Would I come back again? Yes, because its clean, and the presentation of the restaurant is nicer that Inka. But I’d probably cross the street for Inka for my every day comfort food.

El Rocoto Peruvian Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato