Oysters Studio City

Los Balcones Expands on Peruvian Vision in Studio City

Los Balcones, a longtime Hollywood favorite for Peruvian food, expands to the former Girasol space in Studio City with a more elaborate menu.

Los Balcones, a family-run Peruvian restaurant in Hollywood, recently opened another outpost in Studio City—with a far more ambitious menu. Owner Jorge Rodriguez has enlisted nationally renowned Peruvian chef Ricardo Zarate, a 2011 Food & Wine Best New Chef, for the space Girasol formerly occupied. Chef Ricardo has also created the the fare at Rosaliné in West Hollywood and Once in Las Vegas.

The modern dining area looks much as it did in Girasol’s days. With this latest Los Balcones location, the menu delves deep into “mestizo cuisine”—a blend of cultures from Peru and beyond. Ricardo recommends about 1.5 plates per person, since portions are fairly large. Chef Polit Castillo leads the daily culinary charge.

The bold flavors begin with Un Nuevo Comienzo (Fresh Start). Oysters ($22) pack surprising punch. Briny Kumiai varietals from Baja are blanketed with uni sauce, spicy rocoto ponzu, popped quinoa, charred aji oil, garlic chips and decorative borage flowers.

Tuna salad ($26) is an early highlight from their No Te Detengas Ahora (Don’t Stop Now) menu section. Rosy chunks of seared ahi join pickled fennel marmalade, fennel arugula citrus salad tossed with orange and grapefruit segments, piquant leche de tigre (a citrus-based Peruvian marinade), herbaceous chimichurri and micro arugula.

Locro Papardelle ($20) is a play on traditional Peruvian pumpkin stew featuring house-made pasta sautéed with kabocha and delicata squash. Mushrooms, tangy little goat cheese gobs, huacatay (black mint) and shaved Parmesan all add balance. Complementary zapallo “hummus” crafted with acorn squash, tahini and plum syrup comes topped with crunchy pepitas.

Termina Como Un Campeón (Finish Like A Champion) features hearty dishes like duck prepared two ways and braised beef short ribs.

Los Balcones lists $14 cocktails under El Remedio. I suggest starting with Peru’s national cocktail, the pisco sour—a frothy drink shaken with pisco, lime and egg white; and vivid Sangre de la Pacha—a mix of bourbon, honey, ginger, lemon and beet. Salud!

11334 Moorpark St., Studio City, 818-924-2323

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