Saturday, September 19, 2009

News flash: Peruvian opens restaurant

The Record of Hackensack ran a news article on Wednesday about the tens of thousands of Peruvians in North Jersey who began migrating here in the 1950s, drawn by textile mill jobs in Paterson.

The newspaper said the Peruvian-American community in the state is the largest in the U.S. and that Peruvians own 45 restaurants in Paterson alone.

Then, on Friday, The Record's restaurant reviewer, Elisa Ung, declared that a Peruvian-Cuban couple who opened a Peruvian restaurant in Clifton "aim to introduce Peruvian culture to the North Jersey dining scene."

Peruvian food may be new to Ung, but not to me and thousands of other non-Peruvians who have enjoyed dining at Peruvian restaurants in the city of Passaic and Clifton for many years. Jaimito's in Clifton and the El Chevere restaurant group in Passaic are my personal favorites.

For example, Pollos El Chevere on Washington Place in Passaic, just steps from Main Avenue, is a busy, clean, well-run restaurant with a liquor license and a full menu of Peruvian specialties, including the signature marinated rotisserie chicken. The restaurant's Japanese-Peruvian business partners have another place nearby that offers anticuchos, the beef heart loved by Peruvians.

One of the great dishes at Jaimito's is tallerin verde, linguine in pesto sauce topped with a large, fried fillet of fish. The chef-owner is Chinese-Peruvian.

Uncle Paulie's Puro Sabor is a new Peruvian restaurant in Maywood that serves large portions of tasty food at reasonable prices.


  1. I seriously wonder where they found Elisa Ung. What is her journalistic background? The first few reviews that I read from her were slightly comedic and seemed to be aiming for shock value. The more I read, the more I was disgusted with her ignorance and lack of knowledge with respect to food and culture.

  2. She is young, in her 30s, as is the food editor. There is a bio on Second Helpings, The Record's blog. She worked at the Philadelphia Inquirer, and I guess that impressed the editors at The Record. But she demonstrates her limited knowledge of food and ethnic cuisine with every column, and her stuff is often inaccurate or incomplete. What's worse, her Sunday column about restaurants often is fluff. There are no hard questions ever asked in her restaurant reporting -- for example, what justifies charging $7, $8 or $9 for a glass of wine? Why are entree prices in N.J. often higher than in Manhattan? And so forth.


Please try to stay on topic.