Only One Place Offers Guinea Pig During Houston Restaurant Weeks

Try the famous South American delicacy this month at Andes Cafe.

BY KATHARINE SHILCUTT

SINCE IT FIRST BEGAN SERVING CUY LAST FALL, Andes Cafe has offered the whole roasted guinea pig—a South American delicacy—as a dinner for two, with a price tag of $60. But if you’re having a hard time finding a friend to split it with, or you’re simply not ready to go whole hog (pardon the pun) and splash out on a whole pig, Houston Restaurants Weeks is here for you.

Cuy, or guinea pig, is considered a delicacy in South America—and for good reason. IMAGE: KATHARINE SHILCUTT

Through September 5, Andes Cafe is offering cuy for one as part of its $35 three-course HRW menu at dinner. The roasted pig parts are served in a bright chile gravy along with boiled potatoes and a mound of white rice, which you’ll want to use to sop up every bite of crimson-colored sauce.

What doesn’t come on the plate is anything that identifies the cuy—which chef David Guerrero imports from a farm in Peru—as guinea pig, in case you’re still feeling a bit unsure. In fact, after cleaning my plate of cuy last week, I admit I’d be hard-pressed to identify it as anything other than roast suckling pig thanks to its crispy skin and dark, juicy meat.

Also included in the three-course menu are your choice of appetizer and dessert, with a similar range of interesting options not often found in Houston. I chose a plate of sweet and briny grilled Ecuadorian black clams with pickled onions, though I was tempted to get the Bolivian pique macho instead, a bachelor’s delight of diced beef, sausage, hot dog and french fries topped with hot sauce and chopped boiled eggs.

For dessert, you could get tiramisu, but why order something you can get anywhere else? I recommend the so-called “sigh of Lima,” Suspiro Limeño, a decadent custard sweetened with Port wine and condensed milk, topped with a flurry of grated cinnamon. Its flavors recall that other South American dessert favorite, the rich lúcuma fruit, but with a boozy twist.

Grilled black clams IMAGE: KATHARINE SHILCUTT

Unlike many Houston Restaurant Weeks options, the cute and casual Andes Cafe doesn’t require reservations. Still, you may want to call ahead to make sure you book a spot on busy weekends, when it’s apt to fill up, and, of course, to make sure there’s still some cuy in the kitchen.