Peru has no shortage of stellar cevicherias, so how does a little hole-in-the-wall joint that's open only for lunch develop a cult following? I'm sure Anthony Bourdain deserves a fair bit of credit there, but Chef Javier Wong definitely deserves props for putting on his personal show each day.
Located in the Santa Catalina area of Lima, Chez Wong occupies a space that looks more like a converted flat than a proper place of business. It's nondescript on the outside and many of the elements inside follow suit.
Yet, as soon as Javier Wong enters the room, all eyes are on him; waiting in anticipation to see what he's going to do, make or say. He says nothing. He just pulls out his pan, a selection of knives, a massive fish and some fresh veggies and begins slicing and dicing. He filets the fish in mere moments before you even know what's happened and chops of veggies to add to the dish. It's not just lunch that you're paying for, it's a show; a presentation. He whips up two ceviches to begin with followed by two rounds of Chifa (Chinese-Peruvian) cuisine that resembles chow mein or stir-fry.
We left stuffed, impressed and a bit lighter in our wallets. While $130 is somewhat justifiable for a lunch like this in San Francisco, New York or London, seeing it in Lima was a bit surprising. It was our most expensive meal in Lima, but it was certainly a memorable one!