Quenas Restaurant in Harrison, NY – “Hey, I am a Shrimp. Nice to Meet You.”

Quenas Restaurant is a Peruvian restaurant and was a result of an OpenTable research. When I walked up to it at 8pm on a random Tuesday night, there was only one table that was occupied out of a restaurant filled with at least 20 empty tables. I was ready to leave but since I was meeting someone there, I decided to flip a coin. I stayed and the verdict on the food was also like a coin flip – with a 50/50 chance of being good/terrible.

Anticucho: Delicious grilled beef heart kabob, served with grilled potatoes and Peruvian corn. You should all know me by now – if there is any gross or less main-stream items on the menu, I am your girl. This was a home run… the ball was so far out in the park. The heart was so much more tender than what you would expect with a nice resistance to the chew. The contrast of the dense potatoes against the crunch of the corn made a perfect marriage to the heart. This was excellent.

Tallarin Saltado de Pollo: Spaghetti sauteed in soy sauce with chicken, onions, tomatoes and green peppers. When my friend ordered this dish, the first honest thought that crossed my head was – “That is a white guy, non-foodie choice. Good luck.” Amazingly when eaten with the olives, the chicken underneath all that ugly yellow sauce was really decent. But I still don’t get how soy sauce can be yellow. Soy sauce in Asia is always black or dark brown. Hmm.  Is white man’s soy sauce yellow?

Plantanos Maduros: Fried sweet plantains. Nothing is wrong with the maduros.

Parihuela: A delicious soup cooked with fish and mixed seafood, seasoned with Peruvian herbs. Because I was not hungry so I went for the soup. The friendly waiter told me that this is a famous Peruvian dish and is most authentic. You know what? Last I looked, both Peru and NY have access to the ocean and fresh seafood can be caught and transported to the restaurant on a daily basis. The seafood here was not fresh. It was a Tuesday, so Quenas, you have no excuse to serve me smelly seafood. I have a normal functioning nose and the seafood stink could be had before it got to me. Can’t imagine eating cerviche from this place.

Flan: Egg custard with caramel. Best dish of the night. I love Latin American flan and they did it right here. It’s eggy and thick with heavy-yet-not-so-sweet caramel unlike those American versions. Loved it. The wait staff was so attentive – see the “Thank You” on the plate in the photo above.  I licked that up, by the way.

Would I go back? Probably not. The food does not have to be great at a restaurant for me to return but I have a problem with seafood smelling like “You know, I am a shrimp” from across the table. Even then I will still miss the flan…

This experience took place at

Quenas Restaurant
109 Halstead Avenue,
Harrison, NY. 10528
(914) 630-4646

Cuzco Peru Restaurant in Briarwood, Queens, NY – Desperate Seafood for Desperate Souls

A few weekends ago, I was exploring a neighborhood in Queens by myself and came upon this restaurant called Cuzco Peru on Queens Blvd in Briarwood. Although it felt like new, I realized that I had been to this restaurant before with a group of people. Cuzco Peru specializes in Peruvian cuisine (who would have guessed?) and if I recalled correctly, the food was good but the service was slow.

This is the Jalea: fried, breaded seafood platter topped with onions and tomatoes in lime juice. It was a rainy and cold day. My feet were wet from jogging through the slush in Queens. I needed fried food and the waitress talked me into it! But it was not so good… The seafood was the frozen kind. All traces of sea-ness had been fried out of them. Bad. The one point of redemption was on the roasted corn kernels. I picked them out and ate them all.

This is the Aji Verde, the Peruvian green chili sauce. This was the best part of the meal. Loved dipping my $15 mostly calamari seafood platter pieces into this sauce. Nice zing!

This restaurant does not have a site nor a FB page. You cannot find their menu anywhere. So here is my obligatory photos of their menu.


Would I repeat this? I think this place (at least my Jalea) is almost as uninteresting as the Chinese takeout around the corner. So will only repeat if I am desperate. I am desperate about 10% of the time.

This experience took place at

Cuzco Peru Restaurant
13813 Queens Blvd
Jamaica (Briarwood), NY 11435