Peruvian restaurant Culantro opens today in Ferndale

click to enlarge Seco de carne. - COURTESY PHOTO
Courtesy photo
Seco de carne.

Peruvian eatery Culantro is up and running in Ferndale.

The small restaurant in the former Southern Belle space at 22939 Woodward Ave. held its soft opening yesterday and hosts its grand opening today.

Alvaro Herrera, whose family is opening the shop, tells Metro Times that Culantro is partly run by Peruvian and Ecuadoran immigrants who offer what they say is Michigan's only fully Peruvian restaurant.

Many of the ingredients are sourced from the South American nation, and while the menu mostly is comprised of traditional meals, there are also "newer contemporary takes on old dishes."

Among those is ceviche, a dish of raw fish cured with fresh lime juice that's mixed with onions, lettuce, peppers and spices, then served with Peruvian corn and sweet potatoes.

click to enlarge CULANTRO/FACEBOOK
Culantro/Facebook
Carne a la plancha is grilled skirt steak Culantro makes Peruvian-style by topping it with a chimichurri sauce and a fried egg. Fries, white rice, and maduro frito are served on the side.

The aji de gallina is a slightly spicy chicken and rice dish that's yellow from the use of Peruvian aji amarillo chili peppers, and "rich from the unusual cream sauce made with ground walnuts."

Culantro doesn't serve booze, but mixes drinks like the chicha morada, a "sangria-like mocktail" made purple from dried purple Peruvian corn. It's garnished with pineapple and apple, and spiced with cinnamon and cloves.

click to enlarge Chicha morada. - CULANTRO/FACEBOOK
Culantro/Facebook
Chicha morada.

Herrera previously added that his mom, Betty Shuell, will run the restaurant, but he's also working there with his stepsister and dad, Ashley and John Shuell. Betty Shuell worked in kitchens in Ecuador before moving to the U.S. around 17 years ago, but this is the family's first restaurant since arriving.

Herrera said Ferndale is the ideal spot for a Peruvian eatery.

"Everybody here is receptive to new things, so Ferndale seemed like a good place for us to get started," he said. "I don't think there are any other Peruvian restaurants in Michigan."

click to enlarge Aji de Gallina. - COURTESY PHOTO
Courtesy photo
Aji de Gallina.

Culantro is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Find its website here and Facebook page here.

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