Austin is the well-known and well-loved home of Tex-Mex. But Peruvian food? Outside of a handful of small restaurants, the cuisine remains underground for the city’s foodie audience. In an effort to fill the gap, the El Chile Restaurant Group is debuting its latest concept to Austin audiences late this summer. Meet Yuyo.
Yuyo is set to open its doors in East Austin as summer begins to fade into fall. However, I was fortunate enough to get a pre-tasting this month courtesy of one of their popups.
While each tasting has a slightly different menu, I was lucky enough to show up on an evening where everything that came across my plate made me smack my lips in delight.
According to the discussions that were held around the table that evening, the unusual name for the restaurant, Yuyo, comes from the Quechuan word for seaweed. While the translation doesn’t make the name any less unusual, once you understand the symbolism behind the moniker, everything makes sense.
Apparently, in Peru, seaweed is an indicator of the freshness of the daily catch.
Now that you know the origin of the idea, suddenly the name of the restaurant evokes a sense of colorful and vibrant freshness – exactly what you need in a restaurant with a seafood-driven menu.
As I sashayed into the pop-up restaurant, tardy and sweaty from the hot summer sun, I was desperate for some refreshment. Thankfully, a waiter immediately greeted me with Pisco Sour.
Up until that point, I had never enjoyed a Pisco Sour, so I had no reservations about taking my first gulp. The surprised look from the waiter did, however, take me aback. He explained that most folks who know of the drink are hesitant about trying it because it contains raw egg whites. I am here to tell you though, don’t think about that when you try this cocktail. It will be the most refreshing drink you have all summer!
Other than egg whites, this traditional Peruvian drink is made with Pisco, citrus, egg whites, simple syrup, and bitters.
Accompanying the delicious aperitif was a carefully composed menu that pleasantly tickled my taste buds. I got to experience wonderfully fresh South American flavors paired with unfamiliar textures.
Just to give you an idea of what could appear on your plate: Imagine, there are over 4,000 varieties of potatoes and hundreds of types of corn available to Peruvians!
So, without further ado, here is the tasting menu that we enjoyed.
Chifles + Papas
Peruvian market bags inspired us to make ?market cubes. Made exclusively for Yuyo restaurant. Our market cubes are our welcoming basket of crunchy goodness known as chifles. Chifles include plantains and potato chips. ✨comingsoon✨ ? @ghezekiah #recycling #marketbags #restaurantdetails #eastsideperuvian #perulovers
According to the menu, the ingredients in this dish were: Green plantains/purple potatoes/cancha/aji sauce.
Jalea + Cibiche Clasico
Cebiche Mixto drum / octopus / gulf shrimp / leche de tigre / ají limo / yuyo ✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨ This is sure to be a star dish on our menu. Simple yet complex technique resulting in exquisite textures and flavors from the Gulf of Mexico. ✨coming soon ✨Yuyo Peruano ? @metalico31 #peruvianfood #chefdriven #austinmade #eastside #austin
According to the menu, the ingredients in this dish were: Flounder/calamari/leche de tigre/salsa criolla/pickled aioli.
Tomate + Palta
Tomate & Palta heirloom tomatoes / grilled avocado / key lime juice / extra virgin olive oil The simplest of ingredients yet quintessential in Latin cuisine. Perú's avocados parallel to the Haas variety. They are creamy and super tasty. We would be amiss if we didn't feature them on our menu. ✨coming soon ✨ ?Yuyo #tomatolove #palta #peruviancuisine #austin ? @metalico31
According to the menu, the ingredients in this dish were: avocado/heirloom tomatoes/salsa criolla/key lime.
Arroz con Mariscos
According to the menu, the ingredients in this dish were: clams/mussels/shrimp/corvina/aji amarillo brothe/ salsa criolla.
#Marketday ?✍?@cocinamaribel Bringing Peruvian culinary experiences to Austin for Yuyo.#comingsoon. @alejandrabaruch in Perú’s market talking about the varieties of palta. I ❤️Palta known as avocado. It’s just as creamy, tasty, and beautiful in color as a Haas avocado. How do you eat your palta? #yuyo #comingsoon #eastaustin #palta #avosavocado #peruviancuisine #peruvianproduce
According to the menu, the ingredients in this dish were: chocolate mousse/avocado/strawberries/quinoa.
So be sure to keep an eye out for Yuyo in East Austin, and add it to your list of restaurants to try!