I have a thing about South American cuisine. The ingredients are generally whole and uncomplicated, but there is a certain mastery over them that makes dishes stand out. Take platanos fritos, for example. Simple plantains, when they reach the perfect degree of ripeness and are cooked in the right oil for the correct amount of time, become almost creamy in the middle with a slight caramelization on the outside. The same care is required for yucas fritas, and even more so, as this starchy staple has no real flavor on its own.
Chicho’s Peruvian Restaurant, located in a quiet strip mall in Addison, gets them right. A club on the weekends, Chicho’s looks like a dance floor that happens to have tables on it, but service is attentive and genuine. Seafood dishes take center stage on chef Chicho’s menu. The Sudado de Pescado is a clean, unassuming platter of steamed fish with flavorful rice and yucca, served with a creamy green sauce to meld the more modest elements together. Tacu-Tacu is country-style and hearty, and for the full Peruvian experience, ask for a Chicha Morada to drink.
If you’re like me and you like to keep to comfort food whenever possible, order the Tamal, served in the traditional banana leaf. The masa is moist and rich from the juices of the meat inside, not dried out like so many other versions can be.
The platanos here are some of the best I’ve ever had, with no garnish or dip necessary. Don’t expect a plush atmosphere, but bet on a humble meal that leaves an impression.