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Monday, November 17, 2014

Tineo Peruvian Cafe

Last week, some of my co-workers treated me to lunch to celebrate my recent graduation. How sweet of them!
I chose this Peruvian place that's close to the office but I've never heard of before. I just found it online.

I can't say I've had much Peruvian food before. I know La Duni does some Peruvian stuff... but I don't think they are specifically Peruvian. I always want to try it more. I do love Latin food.

Tineo Peruvian Cafe
525 W Arapaho Rd.
Richardson, TX 75080
(214) 256-4535
Price: $$

This is definitely a hole in the wall, although it was a pretty big space. It's at the end of a nondescript shopping center. It was pretty bare when I walked in. No decor to speak of. There were a few people in line to order at the counter. And not only is it a restaurant, it was also like a mini convenience store. They had some Peruvian snacks and drinks for purchase. Oh, and some good looking bakery goods too!

I was the first to arrive so I waited in line to ask the guy if I can pull some tables together. The service is pretty slow. Even though there were only 2 people in front of me, I waited quite a while. I realized that they only had one guy manning the register and front of house, and I think one person in the kitchen.

We thought we had to order at the counter but the guy finally emerged with menus and said we can sit down and order. He was very friendly, although not so good in English. It was a little difficult to ask questions about the menu (which I always end up doing.) :P Yes, yes.. I'm the difficult customer. haha.

We finally all ordered. We waited quite a while to get our food since it seems like there's only 1 person cooking in the back. None of us really minded though, we weren't in a hurry. However, they didn't really turn on the heat in there so we were all freezing to death. Definitely go when it's warmer or bundle up!! Finally the food came out one by one. We told others to start eating so the food doesn't get cold. Every plate looked yummy and huge! I thought the prices were a bit expensive but then you see the portions and it was better.

Tallarin Saltado a la Criolla (flamed beef or chicken with sauteed onions and tomatoes; served with noodles) $10.99~ 
3 people ordered this. 2 got beef, and 1 got chicken. It was on a large plate and was overflowing. The noodles came out steaming hot too. Looked amazing. I was starving by then. They used spaghetti noodles which my mom uses at home when she makes stir fry noodles because they hold their texture well. It was very good. All of them loved it. And 2 of them cleaned their plates! Impressive.

Seco de Carne (beef, potatoes, and cilantro stew served with beans and rice) $10.99~ 
2 other co-workers got this. It looked really good too! Definitely a great choice for such a cold day. The beef was nice and tender. The beans were an interesting pairing but worked well. They said the rice was flavored with something and kinda threw them off a little. But overall they loved it.

Tallarines Verdes con Bistec (Peruvian style pesto on spaghetti; served with a thinly sliced steak) $12.99~ 
Last but not least, I got my dish. I really didn't know what to expect with this when I ordered it. I just know I like pesto... but I had no idea what Peruvian pesto is. haha. It was a pretty green color. TONS of noodles topped with a seared steak on top. The steak was pretty flat but I liked how the edges were seared and a little crispy. The noodles and pesto was good too. The pesto was slightly different than an Italian pesto. There was another spice/flavor that I couldn't really identify. I enjoyed it a lot. I only wish that there was some veggies in it as well. It would've been nice to have some freshness.

My co-workers all loved it and were already saying they were going to come back. I want to say that the food here is more "homey", maybe something people would cook at home for their families instead of restaurant cuisine. However, don't believe everything I say because I am really not an expert in Peruvian food/culture. I CAN say that I've never had Peruvian food like this before.

I took half of my dish to go because I wanted to save room for dessert!

Flan $3.25~ Like a typical Latin flan, it's much heavier/denser. It was good. Not the best I've had, but I would definitely eat it again.

Bread Pudding $3.25~ Some others wanted to try this. It was cold, since it was prepackaged and put into the fridge/display case. They loved it. The raisins were nice and plump. I thought it was ok. I personally like warm bread puddings with a little bit of a crispy edge. And I would've loved a rum sauce or creme anglaise or something.

Chocolate Cake $3.25~ I caved and also got a chocolate cake. From the display case, it looked soooo gooey and moist. However, after I opened it up, I realized they just drizzled some chocolate sauce on the top of the slice so it looks really moist. It was a pretty generic chocolate bundt cake. Compared to the other two it wasn't anything special.

What a great new find! The service is quite slow but the guy was super nice. And the place isn't anything fancy, but we all loved our food. I'm sure most of us will be back there again at some point. I can't believe they only had 2 people running the place! So go on a day you don't have much going on. hehe. And thanks so much to my co-workers for the great lunch! I feel so loved. :)

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