Peruvian Cuisine Rocks at Machu Picchu

Skip Taco Bell for a night and head here for a delicious meal

A walk along Broadway in Newburgh will present you with no shortage of restaurants to choose from, so being able to stand out from the crowd is important.

Machu Picchu, a restaurant specializing in Peruvian cuisine, does just that. We arrived at the stone-front building late in the afternoon, not quite sure what to expect.

Upon entering, we were greeted by a warm, upscale but relaxed environment and a friendly staff. We were escorted through the front bar area and into the dining room, where the ambience continued to flow. Before ordering, our server brought out a basket of warm bread, butter, and two small bowls. The first was a tangy black olive dipping sauce, the other a spicy pepper sauce. We started on our bread and Peruvian sodas while we looked over the menu. My favorite was the black olive sauce and my companion favored the spicy sauce. The bread was tender and delicious.

For the appetizer, we ordered Yuca Frita, or fried yuca, which came paired with a delicious cheese dipping sauce. The yuca is like a potato but is a little more fibrous, but almost as mild a flavor as the potato. We moved next to the Sopa a la Criolla, a very generous, large-sized bowl of soup made with angel hair pasta, boiled egg, and cubed beef in a slightly creamy broth. The aroma was enticing and we could not wait to dive in.

Before we knew it, we were on to our entrees. The presentation made everything look as good as it tasted. The first dish, Cabrito a la Norteña, was a plate of boiled yuca with brightly colored orange beans, a mound of white rice, and chopped lamb with a thick barbecue-style sauce. I have never seen beans that color and was anxious to try them. They were as yummy as they were pretty. The lamb was prepared with a spice called aji panca, a dark red, mild pepper grown in Peru that is slighty smoky and fruity at the same time. It was a great combination of flavors, really making the dish unique.

The second dish, Arroz con Pollo con Papa a la Huancaína, was a slice of grilled chicken served with green rice, mixed vegetables, and chilled potatoes on a bed of leafy green lettuce, smothered with the traditional Peruvian Huancaína cheese sauce. The green rice is made with coriander, a spice I am not very familiar with. I can’t say enough about this dish. I have never tasted rice like this and I must visit again just to have some more. The chicken was pounded flat and was very tender. The vegetables were tasty also. We had to ask for boxes, partly because we still had so much food, but mainly because we couldn’t leave without trying the deserts.

We were accompanied to the desert case to review the offerings of the day.

We decided on Dulce de Leche cookies and a slice of Torta de Tres Leches, or “three milks cake.” The cookies were soft and crumbly, with a sweet layer of Dulce de Leche and coconut on each. The cake, traditional in a number of Latin American countries, was moist and delicious as expected, but was unique to Machu Picchu because of the addition of canoli cream between the layers. Overall, the food was delicious and filling, the service was fast and friendly, and the pricing was very reasonable. Next time you’re in the mood for food with some latino flavor, skip Taco Bell and try something different. I suggest dining at Machu Picchu.