We know. It’s hot. It’s summer in Oklahoma. Cool down by sampling cocktails that local bars and restaurants have concocted just for you. Find a nice, air conditioned space or a shaded patio and while away the hours drinking the flavors of summer. You might decide it’s not that bad after all.
— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock, Shannon Cornman and Lauren Hamilton
There are a wealth of new local eateries cropping up in the metro and even more coming. If they’re not on your radar, they should be. From the comfy atmosphere at The Barrel on Western Avenue to the laid-back vibe at the Plaza District’s coffee shop, you might find a new regular hangout.
— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman
Inca Trail Peruvian Restaurant
10948 N. May
What works: Amazing food, especially the Pollo a La Brasa and ceviches.
What needs work: Purple corn drink is not in my wheelhouse.
Tips: Meat lovers, get the Parrillada Inca if you want to try a bit of everything.
It was a struggle. A monumental task, like climbing Mount Everest or staying awake during a tax preparation seminar. But I did it.
I didn’t order the chicken. If you’ve ever been to Inca Trail, you understand what I’m talking about. This gem of a Peruvian restaurant is known for great food, but no dish is so heralded as the Pollo a La Brasa ($5.99 for a quarter, $9.99 for a half, $16.99 for a whole).
Simply, Pollo a La Brasa is chicken, rubbed down with spices and roasted in a charcoal oven. Tender, flavorful chicken and a rich, dark gold and brown skin. It. Is. A. Monster. And you must kill it with your mouth.
But I have had the Pollo a La Brasa. I know it is amazing. What I found is that it’s not the only amazing thing on the menu.
You can find vegetarian dishes at Inca Trail, but it’s definitely a place for meat eaters. And it’s pretty great for kids, too — especially when you order the Salchipapas. It’s a plate of french fries and fried hot dog slices with a couple of dipping sauces. As my friend Clayton used to say, it was the perfect place to take his daughter. Take a minute before digging in, however, because this appetizer comes out hot.
Just because you’re not getting the chicken, doesn’t mean you can’t have some chicken, like the delightfully hearty Aguadito de Pollo ($7.99). This soup has big chunks of potato, peas, carrots and rice, plus a healthy dose of pureed cilantro for flavor. Oh, and it comes with two big ol’ chicken legs sticking out of it. A light touch with your fork will dislodge the tender meat and you’ll be in a soupy, stewy heaven. A big meal for the price and perfect for the cold Oklahoma winter.
Inca Trail also has great ceviches, including the Mixto ($11.99) with sea bass, calamari and shrimp. I was intrigued by the Leche de Tigre ($7.99), or Tiger’s Milk, which is a smaller ceviche served in a wine glass.
Marinated in lime juice, chiles, diced onion and fish juice, it has a kick I quite enjoyed.
Hey, quick question: Have you guys ever had steak? Because they do that here, too. But forget your rib-eyes and strips. Inca Trail has things like Tacu Tacu ($10.99), which takes stirfried rice and beans and tops it with a thin, seasoned and grilled sirloin steak. It’s cooked all the way through, but is still tender and moist and delicious.
My love of fried eggs was sated with the Churrasco a lo Pobre ($11.99). A pile of white rice soaks up the juices from a grilled steak with two fried eggs on top. Break them open and let the yolks cover everything. Pure decadence. And with fried plantains and avocado, there’s no end to the richness.
Did you know that Peru was a popular spot for Chinese immigrants? It’s true! Which is why you find a kind of fried rice on the menu called Arroz Chaufa ($9.99). Choose from chicken, beef or seafood and prepare for a dish that is both familiar and new.
For some reason, Inca Trail is not terribly busy, but I trust you’ll remedy that situation soon. Because they’re serving some incredible dishes for extremely reasonable prices. I’m not looking forward to waiting in line for my next helping of Pollo a La Brasa, but I’ll be willing to wait nonetheless.
Oklahoma Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when appropriate.