Oh Picca, why did you have to disappoint me so? I had such high hopes for this place. Blogger after blogger extoled the culinary accomplishments of the modern Peruvian fare here. It was top on my list of “to-try” LA restaurants. I even recommended this restaurant to my Triple F and Running Man during their visit down here, solely based on the reviews of all the bloggers. Running Man was sorely unimpressed. Triple F being more sunshine than dark cloud, was slightly more positive, but wasn’t really crazy about the place.
Finally, I managed to get a group together for a visit. Teety, Soprano Man, The Face Puncher, Quack Man T, and myself gathered for fun filled dinner. We didn’t really know what to order and in what quantity. So out of our laziness, we opted for the omakase. Maybe that wasn’t the best decision.
Causa Sushi scallops, mentaiko
I would say this was probably one of the best dishes of the night. I loved the take on “sushi.” Instead of rice, the proteins were sitting on top of little well seasoned potato cakes. The scallops were fresh with just a bit of deliciousness fishiness from the roe.
Toro Ceviche leche de tigre
This was just the start of the leche de tigre overload in the omakase. That stuff is incredibly tart. A little bit goes a long way but some dishes were overwhelmed with them. I can’t even recall if the toro had that signature butteriness since there was just so much sauce.
Ceviche Crocante halibut, leche de tigre, crispy calamari
This was just more presumably fresh fish drenched in sourness. The crispy calamari was added something different. It was very light and crunchy at the same time. Basically not overly battered.
I thought the stews were quite tasty. There was a homestyle quality to them.
Leche de Tigre Shooter raw quail egg
After the stew, we were expected to shoot a small shot glass of more sour tart sauce. Not surprisingly, the raw quail egg did nothing to cut the mouthful of sour patch kids in my mouth.
Anticuchos black cod, kabocha squash, santa barbara spot prawn
The anticuchos were a much needed reprieve from all the leche de tigre.
Black Cod miso anticucho, crispy sweet potato
A pretty expected piece of miso black cod. Fatty, buttery, salty. Parts seemed slightly undercoked.
I could have gone without this one. It was just squash.
Santa Barbara Spot Prawns lemon grass yuzu kosho pesto
Everyone spoke highly of the prawns so I was pretty excited to finally try it. Parts of my prawn were kind of undercooked. I’m not sure if that was purposeful. It was pretty fresh other than that. The sauce was delicious albeit a bit salty. I don’t mind salt, but combined with an undercooked prawn, it was overall a disappointment.
Pig Feet Stew potatoes, cherry tomatoes, grilled chorizo
I was soo stuffed by this point. The chorizo was overwhelming. I loved all the little soft potatoes and cherry tomatoes. It was another homey comforting stew. I really disliked how the stems were left on the tomatoes. I suppose it added a rustic visual appeal to the dish, but it was not edible and we had to use our hand to pick the stems out. I’m surprised Chef Zarate used pig feet here. While I love the little gelatinous cartilaginous bits, I can imagine it grossing people out.
Grilled Rib-Eye quinoa risotto, microgreens
The night’s special was a 72oz bone-in rib eye. As you know, we opted for the omakase instead, but luckily the last savory course of the night was the rib-eye. Soprano Man was extremely pleased since he was salivating over the idea of ordering the rib-eye for the table initially. Unfortunately, the rib-eye was pretty chewy despite being a perfect medium rare. The quinoa risotto was an interesting take on the traditional risotto. It had interesting texture and subtle cheesiness. Good overall, but not something I’d order again or have a hankering for.
The desserts fell completely flat. The lemon tart was kinda whatevers.
Tres Leches Cake
I’m not a fan of super sponge cakes.
This was made with some sort of fruit I can’t even remember. It tasted weird and the texture was off.
Dry dry dry.
How do you get churros wrong?! These were totally disappointing. The filling was not tasty, the dough was not beautiful fried dough balls as I would have expected. The dipping sauces could not save any of this.
It was hard for Picca to recover from those less than impressive desserts. I was really surprised at just how blah they were. Overall, Picca had some highlights, like the causa sushi and the comforting stews. The concepts are certainly there cuz you can’t go wrong with ceviche and the grilled anticuchos, but execution fell a bit flat that night. Chef Zarate was in the kitchen that night too! But seeing as how my other family members went there and also had a similar experience, maybe it just means Picca ain’t all that. I doubt I’d go back to Picca unless someone begged me to go. I spent some real dime that night and I left pretty disappointed. Never a good thing when you go in with such high hopes. If you do decide to give Picca a try, stay away from the desserts!! One redeeming quality of the night was that I had so much fun dining with my buddies Teety, Soprano Man, The Face Puncher, and Quack Man T. Looking forward to the next one, whenever that ends up being…
9575 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035