Because of the weather recently, outdoor activities have come to a halt. My time in Baltimore is spent at work, the gym, and in restaurants- some very good restaurants! Puerto 511 has been on my list for over a year. Twice I tried to get reservations to this tiny spot with no success. My friend Kate asked BC and I to go with her and some friends since she made reservations a month ago. Yes was my answer of course!
Lomo Saltado for me!
Puerto 511 is a Peruvian restaurant in Mt. Vernon/Westside area and is not even 2 miles from my house. But between my house and the restaurant, President Obama was speaking at a hotel and every road was closed- even to those of us walking. Eventually we walked many blocks out of our way to make it there.
(photo from James M from Yelp)
Everyone else was having the same traffic problems so we ended up being the only table for the first hour of our dinner. Or they thought is was closed. It is an easy restaurant to pass by because it looks closed all the time. It has the most boring outside ever!
The inside is warm, inviting, and smells delicious. The owner/chef/waiter/host is all the same person- Chef Jose Victorio. His one man show of running everything was entertaining and made for great recommendations from the waiter being that he cooks the food too.
Puerto 511 is BYOB so my dinner mates brought a few bottles of wine. I’m not drinking this month- doing my first dry January carrying-over into February- so I opted for a Peruvian favorite- Inca Kola- a bright yellow, bubblegum tasting soda.
Peru is one in my top 3 favorite food countries- it is a fusion of many food cultures around the world and makes for a spectacular combination. No one at my table had eaten Peruvian before besides me, although there was a Columbian at the table who had similar style Columbian dishes growing up.
For starters BC and I shared the causa sampler (cold potato puffs topped with tuna, shrimp, and grilled octopus) and the ceviche mixto arrocotado. Our friends ordered the traditional ceviche and the stuffed potato balls (yuquitas doradas). Everything was amazing but the stuffed potato balls (stuffed with ribeye, raisins, salsa, and olives)won this appetizer competition by unanimous decision.
This is by far the best ceviche in Baltimore- if you have a hankering, come to Puerto 511. It looks a little strange with the giant corn and sweet potato but the fish, shrimp, calamari, and octopus were so fresh and amazing!
Entrees were my two standard go-to orders in Peru- lomo saltado and arroz con mariscos for BC and I to split. Basically lomo saltado is a steak stir fry with french fries and delicious brown sauce. Arroz con maricos is a Peruvian seafood paella. Both were excellent but we agreed that the arroz con mariscos had the edge in this competition since it contained a giant amount of scrumptious seafood.
Too stuffed for dessert we all made our compliments to the chef when he brought our check and made reservations for another dinner in the future. You know it is good when you make plans to return before you even leave the table!
Puerto 511 Baltimore reminded me of my time in Peru and of all the delicious food I ate. BC enjoyed it as well and he had never had Peruvian food before. If you are feeling adventurous, plan ahead and make reservations to come here and fill your belly with happiness.