Just landed at Liberty Station is Pisco Rotisserie & Cevicheria, which opens to the public this Thursday, July 26. The dinner-only spot is a showcase for chef Emmanuel Piqueras, an alum of Le Cordon Bleu in Lima. After spending two years at cooking in San Sebastián, Spain at the legendary Arzak, Piqueras spend the next decade working at some of the U.S.’ most heralded Peruvian restaurants, including San Francisco’s Limon Rotisserie and Andina in Portland, and is now considered a culinary ambassador of Peru.
The chef, who also hosts the popular cooking show Sabor & Fusion, was brought in as a partner by Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza owner Sami Ladeki, whose passion for Peruvian cuisine led the veteran restaurateur to create the new concept, which replaces the Sammy’s Pizza outpost in Liberty Station. An avid surfer, Piqueras tells Eater that he’ll be spending the majority of his time in San Diego, likening its climate, beaches and pristine ingredients, including seafood and produce, to his hometown of Lima.
In the open kitchen, a 12-chicken rotisserie will cook up pollo a la brasa, roast chicken that gets a day-long marinade in a complex blend of Peruvian spices. All the ceviche is made to order to preserve the fresh texture of the fish; the Martini de Tigre is a martini glass filled with mixed seafood in a bracing leche de tigre, or citrus-based marinade, flavored with aji amarillo, Peru’s signature chile, and garnished with crunchy cancha corn and starchy choclo corn. The menu also highlights other cultures that have influenced Peruvian cuisine. Japanese celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa is credited with the now-classic Peruvian dish of tiradito, a hybrid combo of sashimi and ceviche; here it’s Atlantic salmon with a SoCal topping of local avocado and tomato in a creamy scallop sauce. And a wok station is dedicated to Peru’s Chinese-influenced dishes including lomo saltado, a beef stir fry, and chaufa aeropuerto, a pork fried rice with spicy garlic sauce.
In addition to introducing new food flavors to San Diego, Pisco also wants to raise the profile of its namesake spirit. Distilled from grapes, the favorite drink of Peru will featured in cocktails including pisco sours and pisco punch, house-inflused piscos in vanilla-orange, basil-lemongrass and more, plus high-quality versions of the brandy made just for sipping.