Wednesday, April 27, 2011

El Sitio

Dinner with the parentals in New Jersey usually means limited options (Chotchkies, Flingers, etc.) and lots of flare on the servers. Surprisingly enough though, there is a vibrant and developing dining scene in downtown Collingswood, of all places. There's a number of good restaurants to check out, a steadily rebuilding main street, and it's easy walking distance from the Patco high speed line. Just a 10 minute train ride from center city. Who knew? 

We stopped in at El Sitio, which my parents had been to once already and gave them high marks. They specialize in South American cuisine, with a slant towards Ecuador, Argentina & Peru (a special place in my heart since we hiked Machu Picchu last year). The thoughts of those wonderful flavors from Lima & Cusco floated thru my head on the ride over the bridge. Hand made empanadas, incredible civiche, fresh river trout and a hundred colors of potatoes now make me weak in the knees weak.  *Side note - did you know that potatoes originated in Peru?  Fun fact for the day! 

El Sitio delivers on all the above. It's byo, and they will even make you an authentic pisco sour if you bring the pisco brandy - assuming you can find it. The empanadas were crispy and flaky and delicious - stuffed with your choice of white corn, chicken or plantains. How do you say delicious in spanish? Empanadas, that's how.  

The peruvian civiche was spot on.  Big hunks of delicately citrus cooked fish (think it was tuna) served along side sliced potatoes and huge kernels of maize - god only knows where they got that. I was expecting normal corn as it says on the menu, but there it was on the plate; authentic south american maize. So much better than it's American cousin. 

Shrimp cakes covered with an avocado/chimichurri puree and topped with hunks of crab meat were the hit of the meal. The fiancee doesn't even like shrimp, and she thought these were fantastic.  It's not on the normal menu, but hopefully a frequent special.

A boring chicken breast is livened up with great curry-like sauce and sauteed greens with garlic. The chicken was fork tender and the sauce reminded me of a great korma sauce from the Girard Indian take out joints.  

We were too full for desert, but an espresso picked me up after the big meal. Looking forward to returning for more tastes of South America, right in little old Collingswood.  

Food Baby Rating:  It's a Boy!! 

El Sitio
729 Haddon Ave.Collingswood, NJ 08108
Open through: M - Sa: 12 - 9 pm / Su: 12 - 7 pm 
Reservations: (856) 240 - 1217 

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