Las Primas

as Primas Peruvian Kitchen, a polished, casual eatery in a rectilinear but welcoming new space on North Williams. The won ton skins on the menu prompted a guarded probing of the cashier—guarded because I was fearful that nearby Chef Catalina Acuña, hair up and buttoned down in her spotless professional whites, would overhear the alarming breadth of my ignorance and wonder when I was going to start ordering Crunchwrap Supremes.

Indispensable on the appetizer menu are the alitas, soy-marinated chicken wings roasted until golden and barbecue-tender, and dressed with the ubiquitous aji de mesa, a mild chile sauce. Thin, light blonde papas fritas, somewhere between a shoestring and a fast food french fry, are worth ordering on their own despite their inclusion with all sandwiches. The tequeños, won ton skins filled with a light queso fresco and deep-fried, are served with a cool guacamole-like crema de palta, but for all their novelty they are an unremarkable flat note on an otherwise robust roster.

Noteworthy in all the sandwiches is a custom roll that should be the federally mandated standard, regardless of nationality. Strong and chewy yet tender and light, with a thick, perfectly baked crust for which a pizzaiolo napoletano would give his wooden hand, they are an oven-scorched plinth for the hearty ingredients within. Created in exacting consultancy with Fleur de Lis Bakery, they are delivered fresh daily, and this investment is beautifully apparent.

Upon this worthy base are piled a wide variety of grilled, stir-fried, and roasted meats. The lomo saltado—an exemplary chifa stir-fry of springy, delicate, soy-marinated sirloin and onions—is topped with the papas and comes to the table bursting from its bread, but eats neatly. Vying for top spot with the lomo is the choripan, a sandwich of house-made, gently spicy chorizo and papitas (here, somewhere between a shoestring fry and a potato chip). The pan-roasted tilapia in the refreshing pescado a la plancha is surprisingly flavorful for this typically blank little fish, and the cool lettuce, onion, and crema de aji outfit it completely.

After departing one evening, a fellow diner succinctly described Las Primas as, "modest ambitions, fresh ingredients, and well-executed dishes." Here's my attempt at an equally helpful summary: choripan, alitas, and rum punches on an open tab.

- CHRIS ONSTAD

Las Primas

3971 N Williams, Portland, OR 97227
503-206-5790
Hours: Tues-Sun 11 am-9 pm Closed Mon
Restaurant Details
  • Features Live Music, Patio/Outdoor Seating, To Go, Wi-Fi, Wine/Beer, Lunch, Catering, Cheap Eats, Cocktails, Family Friendly (Nice to Babies), Good for Groups, Happy Hour, Vegetarian Friendly
  • Cuisine International
Bar Details
  • Features Happy Hour, Cocktails, Cheap Eats, Catering, Good for Groups, Family Friendly (Nice to Babies), Lunch, Live Music, Patio/Outdoor Seating, To Go, Wine/Beer, Vegetarian Friendly, Wi-Fi
  • Happy Hour Tue-Sun 3-6 pm (great deals on fun cocktails featuring Pisco, the national liquor of Perú, plus Peruvian street food staples, beer, cider, wine and house-made sangria).
submit to reddit