From the very beginning, Pico Rico seemed like a drinking establishment. Their menu is quite lengthy, and they advertise only food out front, but the interior space, alcohol lists including pisco and beers from Perú, and the existence of what is almost a bar in the rear make the place feel like the type of joint you meet your rowdy friends at and enjoy a game or party all night until they kick you out.
So it can be slightly forgiven that the food here is not the most excellent Peruvian food in the city or even the neighborhood, but the place makes up for it in charm and decent drinking snacks.
Usually a staple of Peruvian home cooking, the papa a la huancaina ($6, below), is offered here but does not even pack the punch of its description on the menu. The sauce is not as thick or flavorful as usual and seems very light, as if it is missing at least one ingredient. The potatoes are nicely (and unusually) fried and of course do their job soaking up alcohol, so by a few rounds this might be a tastier option.
The ceviche de camarones ($15, below) is very solid and appetizing, coming covered with goodies that all go in to a good mix. Plenty of lime has been used, the sharpness of the acid clear in every bite.
The highlight of this drinking party would definitely have been the jalea ($14, below, small order), a heaping plate of fried foods that are of course the perfect accompaniment to vast quantities of alcohol. I do not think there was an exception in the restaurant of each occupied table having one, sometimes the $23 large version. Included under the vegetables are all types of seafood, cassava, and corn kernels, all fried. This dish also has a fresh douse of fresh lime.
Two green salsas are on each table, and we all preferred the darker one which in large quantities will make you cry. Dipping all the fried shrimp and calamari into these creates a perfect bite.
Most disappointing might have been al ajillo de camarones ($15, below), which just seems too starchy and sweet, out of a box even. A proper garlic sauce makes the dish of course, so we would probably pass on any further versions of this on future visits.
The bistec encebollado ($10, below) is also a bit disappointing and tough, but the sautéed red onions that cover the thin steak are delicious and almost worth ordering on their own.
Our meal ended on a very positive note though, with the enjoyable alfajores ($1.50) that they have for dessert. Even though we were past the point of stuffed, not a crumb was left.