We had another excellent dinner at Costanera, a Peruvian restaurant in Montclair. We shared 6 appetizers, and had plenty leftover for another dinner.
Very tender grilled octopus salad with chimichurri aioli, roasted potatoes, chorizo, and arugula. It had a very nice char to it, and was cut nice and thin.
Anticuchos- marinated beef hearts kebabs with choclo (large sweet corn kernels) and potatoes. This was the first time I had beef hearts. It had a nice beefy flavor, with a little chew to it (but not fatty).
Happy to hear that Costanera is still good; I always enjoyed my meals there. My first exposure to lucuma was at the Peruvian place in Red Bank (now gone, and the name escapes me–across from the Basie)… .I’m not a real sweet freak, but I had a lucuma mousse there that was delicious!
Yes, Costanera is still going strong. We haven’t been there in a while. Everything is bursting with flavor. Owner Juan Placencia is getting ready to open up a new restaurant (within the next month or so) in North Arlington called Somos. It will be in the old Euro Lounge location. This will be more of a ‘fusion’ place. “He plans to “mash-up” the foods and flavors of Brazil, Mexico, the Caribbean islands and so on, with those of Italy, Asia and other parts of the world that have influenced Latin American cuisine. So, for example, instead of the traditional Peruvian stir-fry dish lomo saltado that combines strips of sirloin with onions, tomatoes and french fries, Somos will offer carpaccio with potato crisps (instead of the typical fries) and a Latin-spiced soy sauce reduction. The restaurant will have beer, wine and cocktails.”
Costanera had an excellent appetizer of short ribs tostones (fried plantains) with jalapeño, red pepper, radish, cabbage, in a mushroom sauce. We also had the quinoa crusted cod fritters, octopus and chorizo salad, and spaghetti with creamy pesto (all of which are pictured above in a previous post). Everything went very well with an awesome Napa Valley red zinfandel from Titus. I highly recommend this wine.
Mrs. P is the original pepper fan. Being from New Orleans, she loves her spices I used to eat bland boring food before I met her. She turned me on to a whole new world of flavors.
By the way Costanera makes a very spicy Peruvian Aji salsa verde made with aji chili peppers.
We had our final dinner at Costanera, which is closing on the 29th. Unfortunately, they were out of our favorite appetizer, the quinoa crusted cod. We ordered the Jalea (fried fish) instead. It was very good; nice and crispy, and not greasy. We also had the octopus salad. I ordered the grilled angus skirt steak with spaghetti in a creamy Peruvian pesto sauce, We took home some lucuma ice cream. It all went great with a red blend wine.
Juan, the owner, had recently opened another restaurant last year (Somos). He has closed them both to focus on spending more quality time with his beautiful wife and daughters.
Yes, there are very few good Peruvian places, so this is good news. It’s great that the Chef and manager were able to buy out the owner and basically keep the menu the same, and even add a breakfast menu. They always did very good business. It’s just that the owner was tired of the daily long restaurant hours and wanted to spend more quality time with his wife and young daughters.