Jora Restaurant & Bar
47-46 11th St
Long Island City, NY 11101
Hunters Point, Long Island City
August 18, 2017
Anticucho – Grilled veal heart skewers marinated in ají Panca | Potatoes. Corn. Salsa Criolla
Jora is the kind of neighborhood restaurant I would love to go so often. It avoids self-consciously hip cooking and serves no-fuss and delicious food.
Before everything, there were plantain chips and cancha coming out from the kitchen warm and generous. For starter, anticucho was the drug of choice. It was grilled to perfection. Its fragrant seasoning was thorough and round. While Sangria might be a brainless pairing, they also offered a long list of pisco based cocktails (which could be exhausting after a one or two).
Ceviche Mixto – Raw Grouper, squid, scallop, octopus, and shrimp marinated in lime juice
The ceviche both looked and tasted mighty fine. I felt the rush of freshness as soon as I bite into the scallop, which sent an incredible amount of sweetness. The marination helped hold a balanced and concentrated flavor for all the ingredients.
Lomo Saltado** Top sirloin, onion and tomato stir-fry | White rice and French Fries
Lomo Saltado was so vital for every Peruvian restaurant. The beef used in this plate was comparably steak level. Its juiciness was profound. There were also thick cut french fries and rice for soaking every drop of the divine brown sauce. The homemade rocoto hot sauce was on the side to indulge chili devotees like myself. So I just let myself dissolve into the evening by keeping diving in.
Locro de Camarones • VP Traditional butternut squash stew with shrimp, Peruvian corn, Lima beans and Queso Blanco
My favorite main course was this shrimp stew. The first time I tried this, I wanted to scream… The mellowly sweet squash, the mildly buttery shrimp, the earthy corns and beans, and an overall suaveness solaced by queso blanco. It was too delicious to dissect. And again, a few drops of (or a lot of) rocoto hot sauce helped go a long way.
Arroz con Pollo – Pan-roasted chicken breast. Cilantro rice with peas | Huancaína sauce. Salsa Criolla
First, the chicken itself had real flavor. I supposed the only used tingly Huancaína sauce here added layer upon layer of complication to the chicken as well? This plate turned out to be a triumph of taste over logic. Olives and a half hard boiled egg were a brilliant touch when trying to mix with rice.
Picarones Traditional pumpkin and sweet potato fritters | Fig leaf Syrup
Dessert was a gently bitter, gently sweet indulgence. My eccentric taste made me adore the fennel seeds in those donuts, though I can see it may not be for everybody. Dipped in a dark molasse, the meal ended like how it began, a sweet bliss.
By the finish point of every meal at Jora, I was barely fazed. I know what Jora must be thinking, “it’s so good to be classic and not trendy.”