For years (a decade?) Peruvian food has been deemed a hot dining trend . And yet, the multifaceted cuisine hasn't gripped the American palate with the same fervor as, say, Korean or Japanese food. Pikkas Peruvian Cuisine & Pisco Bar , a three-month-old restaurant in Cherry Creek North, seeks to change that.
But first, chef-owner Joseph Pepito Aparicio is finding that he must educate his customers. Many diners walk through Pikkas' door expecting a lineup of tacos and enchiladas, not dishes that are a rich conglomeration  of the country’s Andean, Italian, African, German, and even Chinese influences. Although these culinary elements—the product of Peru's diverse immigrant population—may seem at odds with each other, Pikkas' cuisine finds exquisite balance.
For proof, try the hearty lomo saltado. Often considered Peru’s national dish, this multicultural combination of wok-seared filet mignon, tomatoes, onion, and aji amarillo chiles comes with French fries, rice, and chimichurri sauce. For a lighter take, choose the charred baby octopus, pictured, with panca (a Peruvian chile) sauce, roasted potato, and huacatay (a basil-like herb from the Andes) sauce. Order the dish as an appetizer, or make it a meal by pairing it with the tuna anticucho, grilled cubes of tuna, spiced with panca chile and served over greens.
Sip this: Pikkas' bar menu includes nine specialty pisco  cocktails. The white brandy is best known for its smooth, almost tropical notes that shine in a frothy pisco sour (pictured).
300 Fillmore St., 720-381-6748
—Photo by Rachel Nobrega