A few days ago, Mike and I found ourselves in northeast Minneapolis with some time to kill before a cooking class (more on that in in a future post). After doing a quick Google search for nearby restaurants, we settled on Chimborazo solely because we had never been to an Ecuadorian restaurant, or any South American restaurant for that matter.
Although the exterior looks fairly nondescript, the interior is light and airy, in spite of the limited amount of natural light. The walls are adorned with cheerful textiles and pictures of llamas and the Andes Mountains. The menu had a lot of intriguing options, but I finally settled on the caldo de bagre, a peanut broth soup with catfish, plantain, and cassava. On the recommendation of our server, Mike ordered the chaulafan, an Ecuadorian fried rice.
Since our server suggested that I only order the large bowl of soup if I was really, really hungry, I went with the small. I received what I would consider a big bowl of soup; quite possibly the large consists of the entire pot.
The good news is that the peanut broth was absolutely delicious, rich and creamy with a hint of cilantro, and the plantains and cassava were saturated with the flavorful broth. The bad news is that I discovered that catfish (which I had never tried before) is really not my thing, and this soup has a lot of catfish in it. The Chimborazo Facebook page lists their daily specials, and it looks like one of the soups of the day is quinoa and veggies in peanut broth--I may try to time my next visit to sample that, since I did really love everything about this hearty soup except for the catfish.
Mike's fried rice was generously portioned as well, with jumbo shrimp, chicken, and pork. He reports that it had a much lower salt level than typical Chinese-American fried rice, but it was nonetheless flavorful and fulfilling. To underscore the point, I would like to note that he polished off the entire plate.
Delicious as the food was, the highlight of the evening was the fabulous service. Our server was enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and everyone was incredibly friendly, from the woman who bussed our dishes to the cook who wished us a good evening as we walked by the kitchen on our way out the door. Thanks to the welcoming atmosphere and interesting menu, Chimborazo is definitely a restaurant I would go to again (although on my next visit I'll skip the catfish).
2851 Central Avenue NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418