REVIEW: The Freakin Incan, Peruvian, Food Truck, Roswell, Sandy Plains, Marietta
The restaurant business is where the American dream thrives. Through a lot of hard work, dedication to the craft, and a consistent attitude of excellence; chefs like Mikiel Arnold of The Freakin Incan find success. Trust me when I tell you, this guy is going places. Literally. Because The Freakin Incan is a food truck, in addition to being a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Receiving his formal training at Le Cordon Bleu, Chef Arnold chose to return to his native Peru to study under Chef Gastón Acurio. A renowned celebrity chef in Peru, Chef Gastón Acurio is a serial restaurateur, cookbook author, and Le Cordon Bleu alumni; but notably is considered the ambassador of fine Peruvian cuisine. It speaks volumes that Chef Arnold to have been accepted by Chef Acurio as an understudy. [Read Washington Post article on Chef Gastón Acurio]
We have a guy in our office named Anibal, who is from Peru and I invited him along to accompany Angel and myself on this review. I thought this was a “nice to have”, but Anibal proved to be a valuable resource to judge both the authenticity and quality of this Peruvian cuisine.
In the car on the way over, our first discussion regarding Peruvian dining was an introduction to Inca Kola. Anibal told me they’re in love with this stuff in Peru and I was excited when it was served at The Freakin Incan when we arrived. Inca Kola is a golden-colored soda with a fruity taste that reminded me of Cheerwine (Country folks help the urban folks). Its super sweet and loaded with carbs, so one was plenty for me.
The first thing you’re served when you sit down, is Cancha. Its fried corn the size of which you have never seen before. You might think this is the equivalent of getting to the bottom of the bag of popcorn, but you’d be wrong. Think of it like snacking on peanuts. They are tender and highly addictive.
I wanted to try everything on the menu, so we decided to get three plates to share among us. We got started with the Ceviche de Camaron, which is a ceviche with shrimp and Mahi-Mahi. On this day though, our server let us know they had fresh octopus available, so we asked that the octopus be added to the mix. Over the last few months, I’ve been sampling ceviche from various places because I find it so interesting. Rather than being cooked conventionally, the seafood is “cooked” by the acidity in the lime juice. Served cold, its absolutely delicious. The thing that set this dish off though was the addition of the octopus. I’ve never been disappointed whenever I’ve eaten octopus. If that makes you squeamish, it shouldn’t – believe me – it’s great. And no, there’s no tentacles reaching out to grab you!
Next up was Chicharron de Chancho and it was our hands-down favorite. This is fried pork belly in bite-size pieces and covered with sautéed red onions. This is a dish anyone can enjoy. We all got a “to go” box to take home for later to “share the love”. Its particularly good when dipped into the hot sauce that comes with the Anticuchos.
Anticuchos was the meat portion of our meal. This is grilled beef heart cut into small pieces and skewered, served with potatoes and corn. Again, this is not for the faint of heart (sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun), but you’d never know the difference unless you were told. Tender, yet chewy – the Anticuchos is served with a sauce that is hot-hot-hot! Just a dab will do you, or you can wimp out and try the mild sauce served as an alternative that doesn’t have nearly the kick.
The Aji de Gallino is shredded chicken in this spicy cheese sauce. Its not too spicy though where it cannot be enjoyed by the masses. This is Peruvian comfort food at its finest. Served with steamed white rice, is a filling meal for even the most heartiest of appetites.
The finale was the Alfajores, which are shortbread cookies filled with a brown Dulce de Leche (sweet milk) that has the consistency of peanut butter and is covered with powdered sugar. I limited myself to one, but Anibal confessed his son has eaten up to fifty before in one sitting.
The Freakin Incan is not just fun and freakin muy delicioso, it’s a genre that you just don’t see that much. How many Italian, Chinese, and Mexican restaurants do you see? Now, how many Peruvian? Get my point, right? We loved The Freakin Incan and placed it on our list of MUST EAT AT RESTAURANTS IN ATLANTA! Guten appetit!