White is its name in Quechua, Yurac, and white is the color of its decor. White is also its specialty, the white froth of a great pisco sour, Peru’s national drink, or the white flesh of ocean fish.
But there the monotony of color ends. Though the focus is on white, Yurac (Pardo 1046) generally serves anything but bland, monotonous food. Instead it draws from a whole palate of colors to create its up-scale novo-Andean cuisine.
The pisco sour was a harmony of different ingredients: good pisco, lime juice, and bitters. No single ingredient dominated but came together in a well thought out whole that was far greater than the sum of its parts.
So often that is not the case, that Yurac’s version of the Peruvian standard clearly supported its being named recently one of the top five pisco bars in Cuzco by the Living in Peru website.
The care in putting together ingredients, while a hallmark, is not universally the case at Yurac, unfortunately.
The emphasis on white in its decor, unfortunately forces attention to its dirty looking, bare cement floor and the dropped spots of white paint on the leaves of a plant reaching toward the ceiling.
Yurac offers a small series of ceviches that includes a mixto–fish and shell fish–as well as one with just fish. In both cases, the ceviche was excellent. The sea food was firm and good tasting, showing a balance of lime and fish flavor.
The only down note came from the camote, a sweet potato generally included in Peruvian ceviche, which in this case was candied and excessively sweet.
A similar candied sweet potato accompanied the tiradito. Though good looking, it did nothing to enhance the dish.
The tiradito with two sauces made from different hot peppers and citrus unfortunately needed help. This dish of strips of raw fish following the tradition of sashimi was overwhelmed when the dominant flavor of the sauce made with yellow aji was not the pepper nor the citrus accompanying it, but salt, though the dish was indeed beautiful.
A trio of causas arrived as if for an exhibition. It contained three towers made from mashed yellow potatoes, each with a different layer and topping. One was squid with a black olive sauce, another shrimp with a red rocoto pepper sauce and the third contained avocados and a sea food salad with a yellow sauce. Each was good, though the black olive won the palate.
An order of jalea–a dish of deep fried sea food–arrived with the ingredients separated. The fried yuca–a tuber related to manioc– was on either side of a small pile of breaded and fried seafood, while the pickled sauce of onions and peppers was on one end instead of on the top as it normally is.
Novo-Andean cuisine re-imagines Peruvian creole classics in this way by breaking the combinations and presenting them as individuals on the plate for the diner to mix as desired.
Nevertheless, the fry was excellent.
Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the cheese cake of Maracuya which we chose as a desert. It was indeed bland.
In sum, Yurac has an excellent bar. It is a pleasing and comfortable place to go to. But the attention to detail does not extend across its full range of offerings nor across the whole restaurant, though the restaurant is promising.