That dramatic mural that’s been staring out at D.C. from Seventh Street for months gets top billing inside José Andrés' new China Chilcano, set to open today. Created by Peruvian artist Cecilia Peredes, the mural — with its enigmatic face disappearing into a floral background — takes up one whole wall of the Penn Quarter restaurant.
That’s the "Marketplace" side of the restaurant. China Chilcano is divided into three separate spaces, and each space features design details from all the cultures represented in China Chilcano’s culinary tour of Peru. In the Marketplace, red lights float from the ceiling and red neon light fixtures are designed to evoke Peru’s ancient Nazca Lines earthworks. A full marble bar runs along the side of the space.
China Chilcano’s drinks menu will feature pisco cocktails with Asian ingredients. It will be one of the largest pisco programs in the U.S. and will bring in additional piscos that are new to the United states.
In the "Elements" section of China Chilcano, industrial touches like painted red shipping crates hang from the ceiling. Select tables are equipped with built-in lazy Susans for easy sharing, just like in Chifa (Peruvian-Chinese) restaurants in Peru. One table is recessed into the floor to evoke the Japanese style of tatami dining. Guests will be able to look into the open kitchen to see the flames from the high-end Yick wok and see dim sum prep, or walk up to a lobster tank to pick out their own lobster.
China Chilcano’s ceviche bar is in the section of the restaurant dubbed Heaven. There are seats at the ceviche bar where guests can grab a meal, not unlike at Andrés' own Oyamel restaurant nearby. The menu will include sushi with a Peruvian ingredients, with unique takes on dishes like nigiri and California rolls.