Set inside the Museo de Arte Precolombino, MAP is both Cusco’s most expensive restaurant and also one of its best. Whether seated outside by the gurgling fountain in a splendid courtyard or inside in the white tablecloth main dining room, this is Andean cooking for the 21st century as interpreted by chef Manuel Cordova.
The Monster orders up his first (of many) Pisco sours while taking in the amazingly seductive menu.
You may start with capchi de setas, a signature dish made with white wine base, Andean setas and mushroom medley with fava beans, potato and Paria cheese, topped with quinoa studded puff pastry. Perhaps foie gras and poached onion cream is more to your liking. Seared over brioche and crowned with sprout salad, accompanied by a creamy white onion emulsion and frozen green apple raviolis filled with Andean strawberry compote. Highlighted by a Pisco and elderberry sauce.
The Monster’s call is Crayfish river stone ceviche, served hot over sizzling river stone, this mildly spicy citric dish is comprised of yucca, red onion, and yellow chili pepper. Appetizer number two is trout tartar, fresh Andean trout layered with citrus accented quinoa and avocado, served in a bath of tomato essence, with pearls of Andean lake plant and herbal oils.
Entrees include a wide array of seafood, lamb and pork dishes. But The Monster decides he’s got to get cuy out of the way. For the uninitiated this is guinea pig. This version is three legs of cuy twice prepared, first confit, then flash fried, served over creamy Andean corn puree, garnished with salad of tarwi and dried fruit plus and aji panka and cilantro sauce. A safer call is the Andean squash gnocchi, using tomato, Andean pepper, garlic and onion sauce with orange aromas to flavor sauteed shrimp and Andean squash gnocchi, completed with Huacatay foam.
Fresh bread with a huacatay infused oil starts you off. This is reminiscent of oil and balsamic but dare The Monster say even tastier with a hot pepper sprinkled atop it.
The crayfish ceviche is one of the greatest dishes The Monster has ever sampled. It is a bouquet of taste, an absolute art exhibit on a plate. Hot ceviche proves a fantastic method of bringing out the citrus and sea flavors. Another order may in fact become dessert.
Likewise, the trout tartar is a standout. Never having had trout done in this fashion it similarly wonderful. Already a huge acolyte of Peruvian cooking, this cements things.
When the cuy arrives The Monster feels emboldened. It looks like a cross between fried chicken and duck confit and the taste approximates those two favorites. Eaten with your hands, it is delicious. Sorry to all guinea pig owners. Your pet is quite tasty.
Squash gnochhi meanwhile is not only tremendously more healthy than potato gnocchi it is marvelous as accompanied by the shrimp.
With sterling service and unique flavors, The Monster is not being hyperbolic when he says this is one of the great meals of his life.
Why go? Read the last sentence.
Monster rating: 5/5 Monsters
Plazoleta Nazarenas 231
Museo de Arte Precolombino,