China Chilcano, web site, 418 7th Street NW, Washington, DC, 202-783-0941, open between lunch and dinner times by the way (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [WaPo | Washingtonian | Zagat | City Paper | Ylp | Don Rockwell | Gayot]
I like this Jose Andres place, but it’s not quite what I expected. I thought it would be overpriced, occasionally brilliant, but fundamentally unsound. I’ve now tried about twenty of the dishes and they are pretty consistent, and tasty, but without truly memorable standouts. The innovation is virtually always interesting – imagine unagi sushi on top of a Peruvian purple potato. Tasty, yes, but I’m not sure I need to eat it again. That said, the place has enough interesting dishes that you can just keep on trying them and remain more or less perpetually entertained. On top of that they have a bunch of Peruvian standards. And while it isn’t cheap, I find it affordable for what you get, especially if you just order one of the Peruvian dishes. Overall I’ll keep coming back here. I definitely recommend it, but to some extent your reaction will depend on your expectations. Note that it gets quite crowded and noisy, so I strongly recommend going early.