In a word: Once you've actually gotten your order, it's great.
The specs: #0263
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JM ate the pollo saltado with a Mountain Dew.
Jim ate the aji de pollo with a Pepsi.
Kyle ate the pescado a lo macho with a chicha morada.
Monnie ate the lomito Inka Heritage.
Nichole ate the arroz chaufa de camarrones with a chicha morada.
The bill was about $80, or $16/person, plus tip.
Jim gave Inka Heritage an A; JM, Kyle and Monnie gave Inka Heritage an A-; Nichole gave Inka Heritage a B+ (see our grading rubric).
So this is chicha morada, made from purple corn and pineapple:
...and almost everyone at Inka Heritage was drinking it. It was served cool, which is not to say cold. It was thinner and less creamy than expected (a good thing). The cinnamon and cloves were an interesting contrast to the fruity lime and pineapple, and the sweet corn base was not unfamiliar to anyone who's ever had a soft drink. It left Nichole and Kyle looking like they'd just picked up some lipstick at Hot Topic.
It can't go without mentioning that the service is still in need of practice, and it hurts a little to pay $2 for a can of soda and a glass of ice, but we won't belabor that and will instead go on to the food.
Monnie's lomito Inka Heritage was described as a popular Peruvian dish. Its meat, egg, rice and beans certainly provided a whole day's worth of protein. Each element was good in itself, and fit together in an interesting way.
The chicken in JM's pollo saltado had a rich, smoky quality to it that was complemented by the onion and tomato. However, the dish could have used another vegetable to add a little moisture to the meat. Coming from JM, that says a lot. Speaking of dampness, the fries which were somewhere between all right and Ore*Ida, got soaked by the end of the meal. But it was quite, quite good.
Jim's aji de pollo was a bit lacking on the pollo but he still couldn't complain: it was excellent.
Kyle was also pretty happy with the pescado a lo macho, a seafood dish in which the Japanese influence on Peruvian food was clear. The seafood was all done quite well, from the lightly fried fish on up through the shrimp, calamari, mussels and crab. The white wine sauce was buttery but mild, and could have been better.
Nichole wished she'd done more homework when she realized that she'd basically ordered shrimp fried rice. The arroz chaufa was pretty much exactly that, done well, natch, but not worth getting again when there are more unique things on offer. Including several menu items cryptically listed as "aphrodisiac" that she was too shy to ask about, let alone try.
Dinner ended most appropriately with Andes* mints all around.
We hope Inka Heritage finds its service feet, because overall the dishes they offer are an asset to the Madison dining scene.
*'Cause the Andes are in Peru!