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Inkas' Empire, Rockville Pike - Closed.


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I passed by this place tonight, and though I discovered it has been there for 4-5 months, this was the first I'd noticed it. We'd just come from dinner and shopping at Yekta Kabob, so I stopped in only to grab a takeout menu.

I found this review on the Examiner site - anyone been there yet?

Entree prices were around $13-$16, which seems reasonable, but appetizer prices feel proportionally high at $10-$12. The place was nearly empty, so I couldn't judge portion sizes.

It's at 1350 Rockville Pike, right across the street and a half block south of the main entrance to the Woodmont Country Club. It shares the building with Joanne's Bed & Back.

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What I have preemptively and imperiously now named the Rockville Pike Lunch Club met here today.

I had the lomo saltado which serves well as a benchmark dish. It was a much higher quality meat than you typically get. The sauce was pleasantly savory with what tasted like a hint of soy sauce to it. Definitely not your typical Mex saltado.

Dessert was a somewhat disappointing flan. It was OK, but nothing special.

Prices mentioned above represent some very sizable portions and a white tablecloth level of service and decor.

Satisfactory, but nothing to write home about. Give it a shot if you're in the area and you want something other than Asian food. Don't make a special trip.

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Satisfactory, but nothing to write home about. Give it a shot if you're in the area and you want something other than Asian food. Don't make a special trip.

I agree with Joe's assessment. Wanting a small meal, I ordered the appetizer of tamale with fried pork. It was huge! More than I could eat (and I have a big appetite). The fried pork was quite tasty, tasting of pork and little else, and most pieces were not fatty. The corn tamale had a quarter of hard boiled egg and some more pork (not fried), and a bit of salsa; likewise it was pretty simple but well-executed. My "thousand layer" dessert - caramel and chocolate in thin layers of pastry, resembling a Napoleon - was not worth the effort I just took in describing it.

I think danielk hit the jackpot, though, with his seafood soup. Over to you now, Daniel.

damnit, now I'm craving a real Napoleon

Edited by porcupine
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Portions were very generous, but there was no separate lunch menu, which seemed odd.

I had the seafood soup, which was a HUGE bowl chock full of shrimp, scallops, fish, calamari, and an entire small blue crab. A very tasty, rich broth, and it was covered with fresh herbs right before it left the kitchen. For $13, I more than felt that I got my money's worth. I didn't know how to eat the crab without making a mess - it was not cracked at all. I managed. :)

Dessert was definitely nothing special. But the portions were so big, that I could imagine two people only needing to share one starter with their entree, and no dessert, so you can get out of here without spending a ton of money.

I will definitely come back, as it's 10 minutes from my house. I agree with JPW that I wouldn't drive an hour for it, but if you're in the Rockville vicinity, it's definitely worth a stop, especially if you like Peruvian/South American cuisine.

FWIW, they have a very extensive menu, so our sampling of one soup, one appetizer, and one entree isn't necessarily a representative sampling of the kitchen. Next time I'll definitely try some ceviche.

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The only must-do item at Inkas' Empire is to notice the droll face on the sunflower on the sign outside. Ceviche de Pescado ($12) seems expensive for an appetizer, but I had it as an entree and it's more than enough. The fish (perhaps mahi-mahi) is sushi quality - the only fresh fish on the menu according to our server. There's a lot of red onion slices mixed in with the fish, a sweet potato masquerading as a fried plaintain, and a fascinating wedge of Peruvian corn, with lima-bean-sized kernels attached to the cob. It's a better and more interesting ceviche than what you'll find at many upscale restaurants in town. Picante de Mariscos ($15.45) is a plate of shrimp and squid, served in a "spicy cream sauce" which is neither spicy nor overtly heavy. The seafood itself is good, the sauce comes across as light and elegant, and mixed together with rice (and interleaved with bites of the ceviche) it's satisfying without becoming clotty as it cools to room temperature. The aptly named Suprema de Pollo ($12.99) is an enormous piece of fried chicken. Flattened to the circumference of a football, it's well-breaded and actually benefits from some salsa verde because it's relatively bland. The french fries, tomato wedges, and lettuce accompanying it are throwaway fillers, as bad as they can be. While there's nothing particularly fine here, this is a decent place to eat - a white tablecloth restaurant that's not overly formal, a friendly (but inefficient) staff, and one of the most tragic offerings of beer around: only Heineken, Corona, and Miller Lite.

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