2014-04-23 / Restaurant of the Week

El Anzuelo Fino

El Anzuelo Fino is a charming, traditional Peruvian restaurant that adds more flavor to the already flavorful neighborhood of Jackson Heights. You’ll spot it easily on the cozy corner of 86th Street and Northern Boulevard where there’s easy street parking and easy access to the nearby 7 train. It doesn’t matter how you get there, just go to El Anzuelo Fino, which means “The Fine Fish Hook”, eponymously named for the original restaurant in Peru. Peruvian cuisine centers around a bounty of fish and seafood, delicious meats and savory side dishes. Boris, his dad and Emil run this pleasant eatery and Anna, the helpful server makes you feel at home. The wood tables are dressed in peach and white linens surrounded by stone walls and arches with lovely photos from Peru. A mere 12 tables ensure intimate dining in the front dining room, while another dining room in the rear is ideal for a private affair. Settle in with an ice cold beer or a glass of wine while you peruse the bilingual menu. Before I get started, it’s important to note that while Peruvian cuisine is very flavorful, it isn’t hot and spicy, if you had those concerns…. just delicious!

We started with a national seafood dish called ceviche, which is fish and shellfish that’s been marinated in zesty lime juice, cilantro and red onion. The raw fish actually ‘cooks’ in this marinade along with shrimp, conch, or fillet, as you choose, making this an excellent first dish to share, or even as an entrĂ©e. A special house appetizer called Causa Atun is a combination of tuna, shrimp and chicken spread between layers of yellow mashed potatoes. This is a unique dish, served cold that we both loved. The tamales criollos represent a traditional dish made with masa, a type of corn meal, wrapped around a mound of pork or chicken, then wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed ($6). I could have eaten two more of these delicious treats. Pulpo al Olivo is tender chunks of octopus dressed in black olive sauce, while fresh mussels are prepared with a special onion relish ($8). Try the Peruvian shrimp chowder, beef noodle soup or a creamy seafood soup called cazuela de mariscos. There’s a nice, tossed salad topped with slices of verdant avocado with vinaigrette dressing that could also be shared as a first course.

Many know El Anzuelo Fino simply for its famous rotisserie roasted chicken, and certainly if they only made that, they’d still be a successful restaurant. Supremely tender and juicy, El

Anzuelo Fino’s chicken is basted in their secret marinade then roasted on a hot rotisserie. You can order whole, half or quarter chickens, to stay or to go. A whole chicken alone costs just $10, or order a Family Combo with salad, avocado, rice, beans and plantains for just $24 and dinner is done. Pick it up on your way home or eat in at this friendly spot.

From the Parillada or grill, the juiciest meats are made and served piping hot on a heated metal platter. The most famous is the Parillada

Peruana which offers juicy skirt steak, sausage, a pork chop, and unbelievably succulent beef ribs

($22). This platter can be ordered for one or for two people, but beware that there is enough for twice as many people, and the prices are great.

Two side dishes are served with the mixed grill, so choose among sweet or savory plantains, rice, or salad. The grill also renders juicy pork chops, two to an order, grilled salmon, tender sirloin, or a 16-ounce sirloin, all cooked to order and served sizzling hot.

Fish and seafood is equally represented in Peruvian cuisine. Flaky corvine or sole fillet is prepared a la meuniere, in a fish stew with shrimp, breaded and fried or simply grilled. Whole trout can be panseared with or without garlic sauce, or try the whole red snapper. El Anzuelo Fino does a nice job with pasta too, such as taglierini ribbon pasta with fragrant pesto sauce, or topped with grilled chicken or fish.

For dessert, it’s hard to resist their house made picarones which are fantastic doughnuts dusted with sugar and cinnamon. Creamy custard called leche asada or traditional rice pudding with purple corn both make excellent choices, with a cup of robust coffee.

El Anzuelo Fino has a great lunch special for just $6.99 that includes soup, salad and main course of the day. Visit their Website for menus and more information. Better still, visit El Anzuelo Fino for a great catch of the day, excellent meats, friendly service and fair prices. Buen provecho!

86-01 Northern Blvd.
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
Tel: 718 426-8660

Bus: Q66, Q33, Q32, Q23

98-01 Jamaica Ave.
Woodhaven (Ozone Park), NY 11421
Tel: 718 846 0909

Trains: J and Z

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