Pittsburgh Dining » On The Side

A.J.'s Inca Peruvian offers South American cuisine at its new Downtown location

Its signature dish is the spice-crusted rotisserie chicken

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The Friday afternoon I stopped by A.J.'s Inca Peruvian restaurant, there was a sign on the door, and I wasn't sure if it was a promotion or a warning.

It invited patrons to stop by for lunch with Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who would be on hand to officially cut the ribbon on this new Downtown eatery that specializes in rotisserie chicken. The shop's owners, Hugo and Isandra Colan, who hail from Peru, are opening their second restaurant. According to the mayor's office, it's with the guidance of Duquesne University's small-business development program.

Since typically politics and proper digestion don't mix — especially in an election year — I was glad I had time to grab lunch before all the revelry.

The Colans also own a restaurant in Oakland, which offers burgers as well as Peruvian food. The new Downtown spot focuses mainly on Peruvian cuisine, with meat, fish and even vegetarian dishes. But first-timers have to try the signature rotisserie chicken.

I ordered a quarter-chicken meal with two sides. The chicken had a beautiful, crispy golden-brown skin, with a great spice profile that made for a flavorful crust around the moist, delicious meat.

For my sides, I eschewed fries, and instead went with two popular South American options —yuca (a starchy tuber not unlike a potato when fried) and fried, sweet plantains. Both were a great complement to the juicy chicken.

500 Liberty Ave., Downtown. 412-642-6606

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