Inca Trail: Peruvian cuisine for the whole family
Though I have three small boys at my house, it’s not too often that I discuss my experiences of dining out with the whole family. That’s because, for us, dining out all together is a pretty rare thing. For one thing, my wife is an amazing cook and so most all of our family meals are enjoyed at home. And also … well, you guys with kids know, dining out with a bunch of kids isn’t always enjoyable.
But every so often as I’m out trying new places, I come across one that I think will work well for our family. Inca Trail is one of those places. After all, what’s not for kids to love when a good portion of the menu includes french fries.
I’ve actually been to Inca Trail twice now. Both times were with fairly large groups. So, I’ve had the chance to see and sample a lot of their menu and it has all been pretty good. It’s definitely worth a visit for those in the area. For one thing, this is a very unique cuisine you can’t find very many other places in the city. The place for Peruvian used to be El Pollon, but the ownership of that group split up and now we have a handful of Peruvian places. There’s Mama Veca’s in Edmond and Norman, Naylamp on in south OKC, and Inca Trail at Hefner and N. May.
The interior at Inca Trail is simple but nicely done. The stained concrete floors give it a bit of a modern touch. Their food is all nicely-presented on solid white dishware which I think gives it a touch of class. So, it’s a casual, comfortable place but with a hint of upscale charm. You definitely get the impression that they really care about the food they are presenting, which is a nice feeling.
If you haven’t tried it before, I highly recommend starting with the Papa a la Huancaina ($5.99 – see a picture). This appetizer, served cold, offers a taste of a couple of things that are very common in Peruvian cuisine. One is potatoes, in this case boiled and sliced. The other is the beautiful, creamy Aji sauce which is used in several of the dishes. If you’ve never had an Aji sauce, you definitely need to try.
For the main course, my favorite is the Lomo Saltado ($6.99 lunch, $9.99 dinner – see a picture). You’ll definitely taste the asian influence in this Peruvian standard, which is basically like a beef stir-fry with tomatoes, red onions and french fries. That’s right, french fries in the stir-fry. I really love this dish and Inca Trail’s was perfectly seasoned in my opinion. The second time I had it, the meat was a little tough, but otherwise, this was perfection.
I would not go to Inca Trail without at least sampling the Pollo a la Brasa (see a picture). This is Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken which is cooked in their coal-fired rotisserie oven. A whole chicken is $15.99, and could easily make a meal for 2-3 people. You can also get a half chicken for $9.99 or a quarter for $5.99. Each order is served with an appropriate-sized heap of french fries and salad.
The seasoning on this chicken is earthy and a little spicy. The meat is very tender. It’s just all around very good.
This is where I think Inca Trail has some great offerings for the kids. For $3, you can get a chicken quarter and fries in a kids’ meal (you can also get it with rice and beans instead of fries). My kids gave the chicken a thumbs up. However, the better pieces for them were the white meat pieces where the meat was thicker. On the wings and some of the other pieces there is so much seasoning pervading the thin strips of meat that it was overwhelming for them (and even for some of the adults). So, I would ask for the chicken breast in the kids’ meal where the chunks of meat are thick enough that the flavors are more mild throughout.
You can also get the kids meal with Salchipapas (sliced hot dogs) and fries. They also have a Salchipapas appetizer ($4.99 - see a picture). I’m telling you, this is a hot dog and french fry haven. Though I will say, the fries are not homemade and, the second time I went, they were slightly underdone.
There is so much more on the menu at Inca Trail and all of it is worth exploring. I sampled their South American style tamal and the masa was just about the most flavorful I’ve ever tasted. I’m not a big ceviche fan, but I’ve heard from many who are and who say Inca Trail has a lot to offer in their ceviches (see a picture of their ceviche mixto).
We tried their desserts as well. They have a flan that’s very good and, even better, their Helados (ice cream) is homemade with native tropical fruits from Peru. Your choice of Lucuma or Chirimoya. These were very good and very unique.
Put it all together and Inca Trail gets a solid recommendation from me. The food is good, well presented, and unique. The atmosphere is casual and comfortable but with a touch of class. The value is pretty good, especially at lunch where they offer many of their favorites at discounted prices. And the service has been extremely friendly both times I’ve gone. I highly recommend it as a place to get outside of the “norm” and try something different. Who knows, it might just become a part of your regular routine.
Have you tried Inca Trail? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
See more photos from Inca Trail in our Facebook photo album.