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Inca Trail Peruvian Restaurant

10948 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 286-0407

Inca Trail Peruvian Restaurant

Inca Trail is one of several restaurants in Oklahoma that serves Peruvian food, but it may be the first to serve Peruvian cuisine exclusively. This allows a greater selection of some hard to find dishes than is found at other restaurants, and I think it helps ensure the quality of the food when they concentrate solely on one cuisine.

While some other restaurants serve chips, salsa, and other items many people may expect when they eat "Latin American" food, I think it is a good thing that Inca Trail provides a more authentic South American experience by serving the type of meal that would likely be found in the restaurant's home country. The free appetizers I have been given with each meal have more than made up for a lack of chips and salsa. Each one has been delicious and filling, and the free appetizers are one of the best reasons to come to Inca Trail.

I heard from a good source that when Mamaveca in Edmond closed in 2011 the former chef came to Inca Trail. Mamaveca was a Peruvian restaurant that also served Mexican food, and although the Edmond restaurant closed, the one in Norman is still operating. Mamaveca has a reputation for having very good Peruvian food, and I think those who liked the Edmond restaurant will also like the food served at Inca Trail (however I am going by Mamaveca's reputation since I never got to try the food before it closed).

Peruvian food is not particularly spicy and the items are not quite the same as Mexican food, but if I lumped them together as "Latin American" food I would say that Inca Trail is one of the better restaurants in the city.

Taqueños
Taqueños served as an appetizer

On different visits I have been served a number of different free appetizers, and all have been good. Possibly the best one was the small order of Taqueños served on my initial visit to the restaurant. Inside the dumplings were a mixture of chicken and cheese, and it was a much better snack than the chips and salsa I typically get with Tex-Mex food (and at some other Peruvian restaurants that include Mexican food on the menu). The taqueños are not on the menu, though, so I do not know if they can be ordered any time as an appetizer.

Beef soup
Beef soup

Beef Soup was served as an appetizer on another visit, and along with the taqueños does not appear to be an item that can be ordered as an appetizer from the menu.

Papa a la huancaina
Papa a la huancaina

Sometimes customers are given complimentary versions of appetizers from the menu, only in smaller portions. This was the case with the Papa a la Huancaina, potatoes with a rather tangy yellow sauce (that I thought was quite good). This seems to be the same or very similar to the aji amarillo sauce that is sometimes served in a side dish with entrees.

Anticuchos
Anticuchos

Some appetizers come in a large enough serving to be suitable as a meal, as was the case with Anticuchos, two skewers of grilled beef marinated in aji panca. This was something I ordered as a dinner, and had the same sized meat serving as dinner plates, only without any side dishes. The meat was not as tender as many that are served in restaurants, but it was impressive for having an excellent flavor that tasted like "real meat" (that had not been altered by tenderizer). It was marinated, and was some of the best tasting beef I have had in Oklahoma City. It reminded me of beef I have had in steak restaurants in Mexico that was not as tender as most steaks in the U.S., but had an excellent flavor. I was very impressed with this dish, and it is one of my favorites at the restaurant.

Tamal
Tamal

The Tamal Peruano is another appetizer that can be ordered as a meal, although I would say it would satisfy a smaller appetite than would be the case with the anticuchos. This was a flavorful Latin American style tamal with chicken inside, and was not spicy but was satisfying. The salsa criolla that came with it provided some zing, but was not spicy as Mexican salsa would be. I do not expect the tamal to be offered as a free appetizer, but it is worthwhile ordering.

Pollo saltado
Pollo saltado on an early visit

Pollo Saltado is a popular Peruvian dish, and is similar to some Mexican dishes in its spiciness (which would probably be classified as being medium spicy). One of the differences between pollo saltado and most of the Mexican chicken dishes is that the Peruvian one uses soy sauce in addition to garlic as seasonings (probably due to the Chinese and Japanese influence on South America's west coast). This dish was good, though, not only because of the Asian flavorings, but also because of the excellent chicken, Latin American peppers, and the surprising (but very good) french fries cooked with the dish.

Two photos are included to show what I think is an unfortunate change in the side dishes. The pollo saltado is the same, but the rice and sauce have changed. In this plate (served in 2010) the Rice was infused with cilantro, and had an excellent flavor. It also had an excellent aji amarillo sauce to give extra flavor to the fries and the pollo saltado.

Pollo saltado
Pollo saltado on my latest visit

The pollo saltado served in 2012 (as shown in the second photo) was served with white rice and no aji amarillo sauce. Although the pollo saltado seemed to be the same, I thought it had less flavor than before (possibly because of the side dishes). Although this was my favorite dish at Inca Trail when I first tried it, this is not the case now. Still, though, it is better than most food I get in the general category of "Latin American" restaurants.

Adobo de puerco
Adobo de puerco

One reason I thought there were better items than the pollo saltado was that one of them was the Adobo de Puerco, which I sampled at the same meal I had the saltado dish. The adobo de puerco, which the waitress called a "pork chop," was really more than a pork chop in the same way that I thought the ribs at Jamil's were more than the typical ribs. The adobo de puerco at Inca Trail had a marinated flavor, but more than that the meat was extra high quality. I had about three bites from different parts of the meat, and not all of them were equally good. The good ones, though (which were most of the meat) tasted a lot like a very good steak, and the color of the meat was the main thing that gave it away that this was pork instead of beef. This was truly not only an exceptional, but also a memorable meal (and it was large to the point that I don't think I could have eaten it by myself).

The cilantro sauce that came with it was was also very good (and I think better than I have had at other Peruvian restaurants).

The beans were very good, but The Ceviche House has a Peruvian style frijoles preparados that I think is more memorable.

Arroz con pollo
Arroz con pollo

Each dish seems to have at least one element that I like very much, and with the Arroz con Pollo it was the chicken. The chicken drumsticks were very flavorful, and I think the dark meat is better here than dishes that use white meat such as the pollo saltado. The rice on this dish did not have the soy sauce that I really like, but it had peas and other vegetables added for more flavor and variety. This dish was non-spicy, as I found most Latin American food to be that is served south of Mexico. This was another dinner that was memorable because of the meat.

A side dish was included that tasted much like pico de gallo, and I think was a South American version of it.

Pollo a la brasa
Pollo a la brasa

Pollo a la Brasa was a rotisserie style chicken that comes in a whole, half, or quarter chicken (the dish in the photo was a quarter chicken). The meat was marinated for two days, and the meal was served with an aji amarillo sauce (this sauce has come with several meals at Inca Trail) and a green cilantro sauce. My quarter chicken came with white meat, and again I thought this was less flavorful than the dark meat (although I found out on a later visit that you can specify dark meat on this order).

The french fries were excellent, and it came with a fresh salad. The lemon juice dressing on the salad was really more of a flavoring that what we would consider as a dressing (and I find salads in authentic Mexican restaurants to be prepared in a similar fashion).

Pollo a la brasa salad
Pollo a la brasa salad

Pollo a la Brasa Salad has the same meat as the pollo a la brasa plates, only served on lettuce (a side dish of salad dressing comes with it). It also came with the skin and the bones removed, and some would undoubtedly prefer this to the regular dinner. All of them have good chicken, though.

Ceviche
Ceviche de pescado

Of course Peru is famous for its seafood, and one of the most famous dishes is Ceviche de Pescado. This was fresh sea bass marinated in lime juice with cilantro and red onions. This was spicier than other ceviche dishes I have tried, and between the chile and the lime juice the flavor of the fish was fairly well covered up (although the quality of the fish was good and the flavor would have been good by itself).

The hominy and sweet potatoes that came with the ceviche were examples of the variety of side dishes served at Inca Trail. It seems that each dinner comes with different sides to sample.

Sudado de pescado
Sudado de pescado

The Sudado de Pescado, with a tomato sauce, was a very good dish with fish that is about as fresh as I have found in any local restaurant. This is another example of the flavorful but non-spicy dishes that are served in South America, and the fish was good enough quality that I could visualize eating it there. The white rice was not as interesting as some other side dishes, but the fish came in a large enough portion that it would not be necessary to eat the rice in order to be full.

Maracuya, made with passion fruit, is one of the special Peruvian drinks available. This was very refreshing, but was somewhat thin compared to Mexican style aguas frescas. This drink is partially visible in the first photo of the pollo saltado.

Chicha morada
Chicha morada

Inca Trail also serves a very good traditional Peruvian Chicha Morada drink made with purple corn and fruit flavors. There are no refills on the Peruvian fruit drinks, but they came in large glasses that I have had a hard time finishing.

It is tempting to compare Inca Trail with Mexican restaurants, although there are as many differences in the cuisines as similarities. It seems to me, though, that there are not many Mexican restaurants in Oklahoma that deliver as much flavor as in the Peruvian cuisine at Inca Trail. This, along with the excellent meat and reasonable prices, make Inca Trail one of my favorite places in the city.

RELATED ARTICLES
Nov. 24, 2012 : Inca Trail Adobo de puerco

RESTAURANT DETAILS

RATING: 23

Cuisine: Peruvian
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily except Sun. dinner
Smoking: No Smoking
Accessible: Yes

Most Recent Visit
Nov. 16, 2012

Number of Visits: 6

Best Items
Adobo de Puerco, Arroz con Pollo, Sudado de Pescado, Anticuchos, Pollo a la Brasa

Special Ratings
Anticuchos:
Pollo Saltado:
Lomo Saltado:
Adobo de Puerco:
Sudado de Pescado:
Ceviche de Pescado:
Arroz con Pollo:
Pollo a la Brasa:
Pollo a la Brasa Salad:
Tamal Peruano:
Papa a la Huancaina:
Maracuya:
Chicha Morada:



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