The mysteries of the Inca like Machu Picchu also apply to their superb cuisine which on day 23 of the 30 day ethnic food challenge leads to Peru. Why is it so good? Perhaps influenced by ancient appetites from elsewhere? It is out this world according to many enthusiasts and food trend spotters who predict it will be the next big influence after Thai conquers the earth, the Korean Burrito is harnessed, and we get cupcakes out of our system.
Pollo a la Brasa means Grilled Chicken in Peru and Machu Picchu Charcoal Chicken & Grill means business (in Somerville). On this occasion in addition to lunch it is well advised to take a whole pollo and yucca to appease the natives back at the house (dos pájaros de un tiro).
Having made a success of their remarkably authentic Peruvian restaurant in Union Square, the owners of Machu Picchu moved it to a bigger space up 30 yards across the street. Then they cleaned out that original room, installed a rotisserie, modernized the décor, and opened up a new restaurant in the old space — confusingly, also called Machu Picchu — with an even-less-expensive menu of Peruvian treats (and some holdovers). Want a $9 chicken dinner or a $14 steak? You could put up with a little pan-flute music for that, right?
Curiously, the yucca fries ($6.95), native to Peru and served with most entrées, are only middling, not really crisp, while the plantains — from Africa — are wonderfully sweet, and the yuquitas ($6.95) — native to Brazil — are glorious.