Gran Inka Restaurant Miami & Key Biscayne
Gran Inka Restaurante Peruano en Miami y Key Biscayne
From the heights of Machu Picchu and the Andes to the depths of the Amazon, Grand Inka restaurateur Jorge Enrique Vega brings the ethnic wonders of his
homeland to Key Biscayne. Born in Lima, Peru, Vega studied business at California State University in Long Beach, California, and garnered 12 years of experience in the restaurant business throughout Central America.
In 2005, he moved to Miami and opened Gran Inka, a restaurant specializing in Peruvian cuisine, on Key Biscayne a year later.
"I saw the need for a new option on the Key since we have a lot of Anglos and Latins here," says the exuberant restaurateur.
He describes his restaurant's gastronomical creations as being rich in spices and flavors as well as infused with influences from five different cultures: Spanish, Middle Eastern, Italian, Aboriginal Peruvian and Chinese.
"The food that we serve at Gran Inka offers an exceptional and different experience and taste; it's a refreshing alternative for customers who seek to explore outside of the conventional types of cuisines," explains Vega.
Fifty to sixty percent of the menu is Seafood; the rest is chicken and meat.
"Our most celebrated dish, the ceviche, was born on the coast of Peru, and has a history behind it," he tells.
Legend has it that a group of fishermen went out to sea for several days not knowing what to eat. With only lemons and onions on the boat, they began catching fish and eventually conceived and prepared the original ceviche.
Peruvian food is becoming Increasingly popular and visible because it has a unique flavor and is an eclectic blend of a large mix of cultures," notes Vega.
In addition to the Inka restaurant on Brickell, which hosted its grand opening on August 12, and the one on the Key, Vega owns l l other Gran lnka restaurants - eight in Costa Rica, two in El Salvador and one in Guatemala. Next year, two Gran lnka franchises will be opened in Chile and Colombia. "The good thing about Peruvian cuisine is that it offers something for everyone, with its wide variety of dishes," points out Vega.
Fully-staffed with six waiters and a kitchen team of eight cooks, the Gran lnka on the Key offers a colorful array of dishes. To usher in their meal, diners may order a plate of causa, a spicy mashed potato filled with avocado, octopus and sour cream; or tiraditos, cuts of sea bass that are thinly-sliced and marinated in lemon and Peruvian chili.
Other appetizers include ceviche, Parmesan scallops melted with lime juice and fried calamari.
Signature salads at Gran lnka are the lnca salad, made with tomatoes, avocados, asparagus and farm cheese; the seafood salad, composed of scallops, octopus, shrimp and mussels; and the Caesar salad, made with chicken, shrimp or salmon. Entrees include the following:
Lomito saltado, a spicy dish made with meat, onions, tomatoes and potatoes (the most popular main course at the restaurant)
Macho sea bass topped with seafood sauce
Aji de gallina, chicken that is covered with a creamy sauce containing walnuts and pecans (another popular entree)
Parrilla Inca, a large plate of lobster, jumbo shrimp, black Angus beet, octopus and chicken, that is ideal for two or three persons
Carpaccio de pulpo, consisting of slices of octopus marinated in olive oil and chopped garlic
"lf you don't boil the octopus correctly, it doesn't tum out well; we cook it to perfection and have years of experience in doing it"
You can't go wrong if you visit the Peruvian Restaurant in Miami: The Gran Inka.