You know what they say about first impressions – especially when you get to eat them! Here’s a quick look at some of the things I tasted yesterday during the first of several visits to Latin Bites Cafe on the quirky side of downtown Houston. Which means you’ll have to wait for the April HOUSTON magazine for my full description. The best-ever noodle dish pictured above, featuring beef, pork and chicken, made me ask Peruvian executive chef Roberto Castre if he was secretly Chinese.
Few restaurants describe their mission and their cuisine quite this clearly in a sign above the kitchen.
I visited this same space some years ago, when it was the original Dharma Cafe. Yes, it’s still tiny, with eight tables that seat only 35 to 45 people depending on how partners Carlos Ramos and his wife Rita Castre (yes, she’s the chef’s sister) set things up.
I don’t think empanandas have ever had it so good: fluffy baked pastries filled with not-cheap beef tenderloin, served with two different dipping sauces in spoons.
This “sashimi tiradito tres sabores” is one of the dishes at the heart of Peruvian cuisine as represented at Latin Bites. It’s, of course, Japanese sashimi blanketed in three different cream sauces colored and flavored by three different chile peppers. And yes, that would be sweet potato livin’ on the edge.
One final delicious creation I sampled was the Pescado a la Macho. There’s an incredible piece of pan-seared fish under there somplace, I promise. But there’s shrimp, squid, clams, mussels and octopus to burrow through on the way. And yes, those are potatoes in the back. Historians tell us that all the potatoes on earth originated in Peru.