La Granja de Oro

Latin American, South American
$$$$ ($14 and under)

Editorial Review

For a multi-sensory bombardment of Latin stimuli, La Granja De Oro offers Peruvian culinary delights as well as heart-thumping salsa tunes from Grupo Luz de America, which performs at the restaurant every weekend. If the test of a restaurant's authenticity is its clientele, La Granja de Oro passes with flying colors, attracting a large Hispanic crowd throughout the week.

The one-floor restaurant looks something like a remodeled Pizza Hut from the outside, but inside, tables covered with colorful Peruvian fabrics fill a room dominated by a stage of musical equipment. It is the second restaurant for owner Oscar Garcia, who has modeled this business after his first successful venture, Cuzco (on Columbia Pike in Falls Church). The 24 tables are rearranged each Friday and Saturday to make room for salsa and merengue dancing between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.

On the menu, appetizers include ceviche, tamales and chupe de camarones, a smooth, spicy shrimp chowder. Many of the entrees are seasoned chicken and beef mixtures served with rice and stir-fried vegetables for a distinctive Asian influence on South American cuisine. The menu highlights La Granja de Oro's Peruvian-style barbecue dishes: The "Barbeque Combination" offers a variety of grilled meats so tender they fall off the bone, while the "Country Style Barbeque Combination" is for the more adventurous, serving up beef heart, brochette, tripe, calf liver and pork chops. Most entree prices fall between $8 and $10, with the barbecue platters priced higher at about $15.

-- Louie Estrada