Relaying the news to WWeek his breakout Peruvian restaurant Paiche has eliminated dinner, Lima-born chef Jose Luis de Cossio said, “It’s gonna be fun. I don’t care what people think about me being a crazy person.”
Crazy? Well yes, some might employ the word: Paiche was a finalist for Eater PDX 2016 Restaurant of the Year, in part for its bright ceviches laced with rare South American ingredients. It was also WWeek’s 2016 Restaurant of the Year and received a mostly positive review from PoMo food critic royalty Karen Brooks.
But then again, since opening Paiche in 2015, de Cossio hasn’t shown a shiver of doubt when it comes to staying true to his roots, his family, and the quiet dining neighborhood around OHSU (rumors are he even sometimes closes shop without warning when great surf hits the coast).
De Cossio gave the following reasons for the switcheroo to WWeek:
"We have a narrow kind of customer. This narrow customer does not allow us to grow.”
“I don't see myself as this chef only making colorful food for a specific kind of person."
"We will be open to a different kind of wallet, a different budget."
“I don't want to focus on only fine dining.”
While that ceviche may appear on the menu from time to time, Paiche will instead focus on breakfast and lunch and operate Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to noon. There’s a renewed focus on coffee, using coffees by Portland’s Olé Latte Coffee Roasters, and South American-inspired morning pastries have included lucuma and white peach strudel and an amaranth, cacao, and zuchinni tart with spring rhubarb.
The menu also offers some savory dishes, like a calamari and quinoa spring salad. Just how all this will play out is far from certain.