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Chimu opens in Grand Central Market

Chimu has been happily hawking its delicious "Peruvian soul food" out of a take out window on the Hill Street-facing side of Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles since Monday. The restaurant is the joint venture of Mario Orellana, who now goes by Mario Alberto (Lazy Ox Canteen sous chef/former Mo-Chica chef and partner), and Jason Michaud (Local), and its menu is inspired by a trip that Alberto recently took to Peru and the Amazon.

The day's offerings are listed on a chalkboard outside of the window. On Thursday, diners could sup on pollo alla brasa ($13), lomo saltado ($12), scallop ceviche ($12), tiradito ($12), pork belly chicharon ($12) and lengua estofado ($10). These aren't typical Grand Central Market prices, but this isn't typical Grand Central Market food.

I have only one belly (sad, but true) and I dined alone today, so I just tried the lomo saltado. It came with thick chunks of juicy beef cooked medium-rare and piled atop a crisp mound of golden, thick-cut French fries, with a side of sticky white rice peppered with fat kernels of Peruvian corn.

It also came with two creamy sauces: one green, made with ahi peppers, and one yellow, made with feta cheese. I kept dipping my meat and fries back and forth between them since I couldn't decide which I liked more. Occupied thus, I became mesmerized by the spectacle of the tiny Angel's Flight funicular shuttling tourists up and down the hill across the street.

I expect to spend many a happy afternoon repeating the routine.

Chimu, 324 S. Hill St., L.A. (213) 625-1097. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: Lomo saltado at Chimu. Credit: Jessica Gelt / Los Angeles Times

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Hopefully, this is the beginning of better things to come at Grand Central Market. Don't get me wrong--I love many of the food stalls here--but the market would be even better if they got rid of the belt buckle and jewelry vendors, and squeezed some organic produce vendors, and other food vendors in. This market has the potential to be even better than it is!

That looks *awesome*

Next time you need a second stomach for a DTLA lunch I happily volunteer...


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