Eating international fare locally eliminates the woes associated with transatlantic travel, such as jet lag and oar splinters. Stamp your palate’s passport with today’s Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of Peruvian fare at Inca’s Cafe in Carrollton.
The gastronomic gurus at Inca’s Cafe draw on the epicurean legacy of the Incas and the influence of the Spanish conquistadors while crafting a menu of savory Peruvian cuisine. A starter of breaded calamari ($14.99) or fresh mussels hoisting gems of onion, pepper, and corn ($7.99) warms up tongues for an evening of conversation and competitive chew-a-thons. For main acts, diners slice into beef skirt steak before sampling sides of sweet plantains and avocado ($12.50). Bites of cilantro-seasoned fried chicken ($10.99) satisfy cavernous hungers, and sips of Inca Kola, a Peruvian soda ($2.50), keep the palate refreshed. Conclude feasts with the sugar-dusted caramel-roll cake ($4.99) or the purple-corn pudding studded with dried plums, raisins, and pineapple ($4.99), both sweeter than a draft of Sleepless in Seattle scribbled on a chocolate wrapper.
On Tuesday night, free salsa lessons guide dancers across the dining-room floor, surrounded by framed artwork depicting South American life. On Saturday evening, DJs fill Inca's Cafe with Latin beats, much like the White House after hours.
Though decidedly its own cuisine, Peruvian food nods to the many conquistadores, Asian immigrants, and native people that influenced it in its formative years. Inca's Cafe’s chef opened the eatery in honor of her mother, and she follows in her footsteps with a menu of classic dishes. She makes chupe de camarones, a creamy shrimp soup, and lomito saltado, beef mixed with sautéed onions, tomatoes, and french fries. The selection also includes Inca Kola directly from Peru, as well as fresh juices and desserts. The traditional mazamorra morada is a pudding made from purple corn, a version of the vegetable whose parent fell in love with an eggplant.
The restaurant also channels an authentic Peruvian spirit with live dancing lessons. Instructor Luis Delgadillo teaches diners salsa dance steps every Tuesday between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., encouraging patrons to learn a new skill, meet new people, and practice dancing in locales outside their kids' spelling bees. They also have traditional Peruvian Folk music from the Andes on Fridays during dinner.