2006 Fall Dining Guide By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Magazine
Sunday, Oct. 15, 2006
Can't get to Lima? Your best alternative is a meal at the cramped, noisy, engaging El Chalan. The underground restaurant with the low ceilings and religious art has been pouring pisco sours and peeling potatoes -- which go into seemingly every other dish -- for a quarter-century, a small miracle in the here-today-gone-tomorrow restaurant business. An address near the World Bank helps explain all the Spanish in the air, while the kitchen, rather than the matter-of-fact service, is responsible for the many occupied tables. An appetizer of seviche -- tender shrimp and squid made colorful with sweet potatoes and corn -- is big enough to qualify as a whole meal; among entrees, sauteed beef in a jumble of potatoes, onions and tomatoes (lomo saltado) and shredded chicken in a faintly sweet peanut sauce compete for a diner's attention.
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