Authentic Peruvian food is scarce in New York City. Luckily, three daring, empowered women came to New York to impose a new way to experience traditional and genuine Peruvian food on the New Yorkers. Chef Magaly Ponce, executive chef to Qoyas NYC, alongside her sister and mother came to New York to take over it. Their mission is to make a rousing statement and to impact the New Yorker who is not used to truly authentic, intense dishes.
Chef Magaly was initially influenced by both of her grandmothers, and Chef Flavio Solórzano, who is a specialist in Peruvian food, pâtisserie and artisanal food. Extolling their roots, heritage, and culture; their name 'Qoyas' comes from the classical Quechua (the Inca's language) and means "queens."
With virtual brands, or "ghost kitchens" being on the rise since the pandemic, Qoyas has risen to be one of the busiest places in midtown, offering folks pick up or delivery throughout the various food delivery apps such as Uber, and DoorDash.
On this visit, for the appetizers, we had the Pan con Chicharrón (also known as Sanguche de chicharron) and Peru's undisputably flagship dish — ceviche. The Pan con Chicharrón comes with fried sweet potatoes and a delectable salsa Criolla. The ceviche, on the other hand, was even more inviting. The ceviche is a combination of fresh fish, lime juice, ajies, sweet potato, canchita and corn. The ingredients for both appetizers are so perfect for each other, that in each bite you can taste Peru right here in New York City. Its luscious (because of the sweet potato in both) and succulent taste were inevitably delicious. Both were as toothsome as the other. Both were extremely enjoyable, and oddly, both are considered breakfast dishes.
The fun part arrived when it was time for the entrees. One of them was one of Peru's flagship dishes, as well — the Lomo Saltado, and the other one was the Chaufa. It is no secret that Peru's modern-day cuisine features influences from Japan, China, Italy and Spain, and Chaufa is a perfect example of it. Chaufa, which comes from Chao Fan (Cantonese cuisine), and it's originally a mixture of a day's old leftover rice, with different meats, vegetables, and soy sauce. In this amazing twist, Chef Magaly, offers, of course, fresh rice, or quinoa, and can make it vegetarian by making it with mushrooms only, or the meat (steak/chicken) of your preference.
We had the steak chaufa, and it was really good! It reminded me of our version of the Chao fan — chofán. Both are very alike and both equally good, though, in the Dominican cuisine, it isn't offered with mushrooms or quinoa, for that matter.
The Lomo Saltado was an exquisite dish, as it was made with the cow's lomito or the tenderloin part. This muscle section of the cow does not get much of a workout, therefore the meat is extremely tender, which is why a Beef Stir Fry with Filet Mignon can only be magnificent. This dish was prepared because Chef Magaly and her family used to have it back in Peru — with rice, fries, peppers and onions, and, of course, the steak.
We totally loved our visit to Qoyas and the food they have to offer. Because life is as is, Qoyas NYC will not be serving anymore from midtown, but rather Chef Magaly will be proving private chef services and catering for events. We rate the food 5/5 stars. Kudos to the Chef's creativity and innovative mind.