Where Peruvian Nikkei cuisine was born
Claim to fame: The original powertable of Nikkei gastronomy. Presidents, congressmen, even Japanese royalty have dined here.
Reason to go: Culinary history, handed from father to son
To look out for: Ikizukuri-style sashimi, so fresh is squiggles on the plate.
A discreet location, in a residential corner of the Malecón de Miraflores, Costanera 700 is home to the heir of one of Peru’s most prestigious Nikkei chefs. Here, Yaquir Sato carries on the tradition his father established half a century ago in a different location––an auto repair shop. Legend has it Humberto Sato cooked his first lomo saltado on a wok, over a blowtorch fire, surrounded by broken cars and heavy machinery. When Sato SR started cooking, Nikkei was not yet an adjective attached to restaurants with Japanese heritage. In fact, when Sato first opened it was a bad idea to cook outside the Peruvian criollo canon; his first menu offered classic Limeño dishes like pigs trotters and seco de cabrito (goat stew). That was back when octopus and crab weren’t even considered edible. Regular clients however, started asking the self-taught chef to prepare seafood and fish. It was precisely one such dish––a peppered chita––that prompted poet Rodolfo Hinostroza to enthusiastically baptize this Japanese-Peruvian crossover Nikkei. The rest is history.
Sato’s tempura, deep-fried in four different pans––each heated at different temperatures––is surprisingly delicate and crispy. Diners will be overwhelmed with choices: sashimi, makis, ceviches, tiraditos and other seafood for starters, a sea of options for seconds. The arroz con pato (rice with duck) has both Chinese and Japanese nuances. Tableside preparations are a trademark of Costanera 700. The famous chita a la sal is a lightly seasoned grunt fish, baked under a thick crust of sea salt, it’s carted over to your table in flaming theatrics.