Peruvian dishes from the reopened El Inka please the whole family, especially a starch-loving mom and kid.

Pollos a la Brasa El Inka, or El Inka, a popular Peruvian restaurant in Gresham known for stellar spice-rubbed rotisserie chicken, closed in 2019. But the husband-and-wife team of Luis Cabrera and Claudia Fernandez recently reopened, this time in outer Southeast right as restaurant dining had resumed in Multnomah County. My family is fond of Peruvian cuisine, especially lomo saltado, so we placed an order for pickup on a recent weeknight.

El Inka’s website helpfully provides pictures and descriptions of the various dishes. (And it’s in English and Spanish.) But I was unclear on whether I could order pickup through the site, so I just called in our order. (Sadly, they don’t have a rotisserie roaster yet, so their specialty chicken is not on the menu at this time.)

Pro tip: El Inka is located in an orange building on the south side of Division, right in front of a garden-accessories lot. I initially missed it and circled around the block looking for the right spot — more than once. Hint, park on 85th Avenue and walk east on Division.

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Our food was waiting when I got there (actually they’d called letting me know it was ready, round the time I was driving right past‍). And it smelled delicious. 

I ordered an appetizer called salchipapas ($5.99) for my 5-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter to share — basically thick, fried potato wedges and cut-up franks. Is that not the perfect slightly picky kid food? They devoured the fries and ate most of the hot dogs. 

My husband ordered the lomo saltado, strips of steak stir-fried with onions and peppers and tossed with thick-cut fries and served with white rice ($14.99). Since we brought the food home, the fries were a little soggy, but it was no less tasty. My husband especially liked the way the spicy red rocoto chile sauce, one of a rainbow of sauces that came in little containers with our food, brought the whole plate together. I ordered the pollo saltado, the same dish, but with chicken instead of beef ($12.99). I ended up giving most of the chicken to my son. “This chicken is good,” he said as I passed him another piece. He also shared my rice. The meal was starch-heavy — exactly what he likes. And who am I kidding —  he gets that from me. I had no problem eating fries and rice either, especially rice that had soaked up the savory juices from the chicken. (Even my husband, usually a bastion of healthy eating, didn’t leave so much as a grain of rice on his plate.) Also, I really enjoyed the zing the green and yellow sauces added to the pollo saltado.

We ended our meal with alfajores cookies ($2.50 each), two crunchy shortbread slabs with dulce de leche sandwiched in the middle. The kids approved, purposely squishing out the creamy dulce de leche to lick between bites. My husband summed it up by saying, “I’d definitely order from them again.”

El Inka: 8560 SE Division St., 503-432-8270, inkafood.vivenature.com/en/

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Denise Castañon
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