Drew Disabatino, an East Coast native who is in his seventh year as executive chef at the Peruvian, has been cooking since he was a child. And with a little encouragement from his parents, he turned his childhood past-time into a tasty career. Now, he’s sharing his favorite dishes with the lucky guests at the Peruvian, who are treated to a new menu experience each night. Here are his picks for his five favorite Peruvian meals:
1. One of my all-time favorites is sesame-encrusted and seared rare sushi-grade tuna, served over a cold rice noodle and cappelini salad. The combination of sweet and crisp veggies, cooked noodles, decadent tuna and contrasting sauces makes this essentially a really good sushi roll in entree form. I could probably eat sushi until it killed me!
2. Next is the seared halibut with coconut cashew bacon butter. The seared buttery halibut does really well with the cashew butter, made with crispy bacon chunks and silky coconut milk. The pasta is a great combination of flavors, sweet but acidic tomatoes, crisp peppery arugula, creamy pesto and garbanzo beans for texture.
3. I love the marinated Terres Major (shoulder tender), which is an often-overlooked piece of meat — despite it’s great beef flavor. We marinate the beef overnight in one of my favorite beef marinades, and grill it. It’s layered atop a salad of butter leaf lettuce, which is topped with a tomato and olive salad with basil vinegar onions. To the side is homemade roasted red pepper hummus and feta with seasoned and grilled pita points. This is a great comfort food dish — it is filling, healthy, clean and delicious.
4. I’m a huge fan of the roasted chicken with creamy gogonzola polenta and grilled asparagus. It starts with a whole roasted organic chicken, split in half. We lump Italian grits mixed with the pungent cheese under the cavernous ribs of the bird, and stand up grilled asparagus stalks tossed in garlic oil. The half bird is a sight to see on the plate, the marsala gravy is thick and decadent, the mushrooms in the gravy cut into the polenta well, and who doesn’t love garlic-scented asparagus with some char?
5. A guest favorite is the Buffalo Tenderloin, temped and grilled to order, and topped with blue cheese and roasted prosciutto. Using local game is always a crowd pleaser. Topping it with delicous cheese and crispy cured pig adds to the fun. Our mashers use red skin-on potatoes, roasted garlic puree, sour cream and seasoning. The spinach and tomato combo is bursting with eye appeal and flavor, and grilled buffalo tenderloin topped with our house steak sauce seals the deal. We get a lot of requests for this.
At the end of the day, our chef is all about cooking up amazing dishes that expand his artistic horizons and leave a lasting impression on guests. “It’s like some form of magician work to take one thing and turn it into something else,” says Disabatino. “I like creating with my mind and building with my hands. Being able to impact someone’s day with a meal they love — or maybe they have never had — and leaving them with feelings of satisfaction is what it’s all about.”