Inca Social just brought Merrifield a colorful new getaway for Peruvian comfort foods that are designed to be paired with a long lineup of Virginia craft beers.
The 139-seat stunner, located right off the Dunn-Loring Metro station (2670 Avenir Place, Vienna, Virginia), comes from some heavy hitters in the Northern Virginia restaurant world.
Co-owner Fito Garcia helped open Courthaus Social and High Side, which is also big on craft beers. At Inca, which held a grand opening this month, there are 23 taps dedicated solely to Virginia craft breweries such as Aslin (Herndon) and Port City (Alexandria) along with three ciders. Inca’s other partners are part of Velocity Wings and Pio Pio, a Peruvian spot in Great Falls.
Inca replaces the space formerly occupied by the short-lived Black Squirrel. Quick orders geared towards commuters hopping on the Metro include fried empanadas and a chicharron sandwich featuring fried pork, sweet potato chips, and criolla sauce.
Some of the menu is inspired by Japan’s colonization of Peru, with a fried shrimp basket and Asian glazed chicken wings to start. More traditional South American orders include the lomo saltado with fries and arroz con pollo, which Garcia says is made with cilantro lovers in mind.
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One of the biggest sellers so far is the fried Inca balls starter, featuring causa (whipped potato) dough stuffed with cheese or ground beef and served with rocoto pepper cream sauce. Its three ceviches are also an early hit, with one fried variety featuring diced shrimp salad, limo aioli sauce, and topped with a fried shrimp.
The design pays homage to Machu Picchu, the iconic Inca citadel perched high in the Andes mountains of Peru. Along with a huge hand-painted mural of the 15th-century world wonder, there’s moss-covered walls and golden tribal accents. Nods to Inca’s alpaca mascot take the form of furry stuffed animals as well as a “Feisty Llama” cocktail with Chacho jalapeno aguardiente and a “Llamazing” DJ party scheduled for Thursday nights. Garcia, who’s Peruvian, got his nightlife feet wet while running Fairfax’s underground club, Rain.
Happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. offers discounts on pisco sours, beer and wine and appetizers. Future ideas in the works include a ceviche special on Mondays and hosting guest Latin American chefs on Tuesdays.
Inca is open daily starting at 11 a.m., with later hours on weekends.