Wanka Restaurant falls short of its Peruvian roots
by Spiridoula Karagiannis
May 18, 2011 | 14542 views | 1 1 comments | 532 532 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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There is a plentiful amount of restaurants along Grand Avenue.

But if you’re in the mood for, say, Peruvian, there is Wanka Restaurant, located at 71-04 Grand Avenue in Maspeth.

When you walk in, immediately noticeable is the very small dining area that’s pretty well lit. But the televisions posted around the restaurant are out of sync and the echo is a bit distracting.

You can choose your seat and a few minutes later a small bowl of Peruvian roasted corn and a spicy green sauce are brought to the table.

Neither of these looks appetizing in the least, and interestingly enough, the sauce does not pair well with any of the dishes.

The service is very slow. The drink order is taken with food order. And a tip: make sure you mention the drinks, because you will not be asked about them. There is a small menu, and a few of the items are similar with just the choice of meats changing.

As an appetizer papa rellena is not bad. It consists of ground beef with raisins, a quarter of a hard-boiled egg, wrapped in mashed potatoes and fried. The raisins and egg are not mentioned on the menu, so they present an interesting surprise.

The dish does contain some rather interesting flavors; it is soft and rather tasty and served with a drizzle of orange mayonnaise and a red onion salad with cilantro and a lemon dressing.

There is a chicken dish on the menu called pollo saltado, which is chicken with tomatoes and onions in a flavorful beef-based sauce. The chicken is tender and the sauce is full of great flavors.

Order the cassava fries instead of regular fries, they do not disappoint. Cassava or yucca is similar to a potato but has more starch. You might want to eat these before your meal, because the longer they sit in your plate the tougher they get to chew. Soaking them in the sauce will cause them to soften and become irresistible.

The menu also contains a dish that sounds a bit more familiar: beef fried rice, or arroz chaufa de carne. It sounds great, but that is where the excitement for this dish ends. The rice is over cooked, the steak bits are chewy and unseasoned, and the presentation as well as the taste are complete let downs.

The fried rice is also rather heavy on egg, which would be great if there was any seasoning at all on the dish. The rice is the only thing with any flavor.

Unfortunately the wait staff hardly notices that you are there, even if you are the only table. You are seated and do not see your waiter/ress until he/she decides to stroll by your table for your order.

You will see them when they bring the food to the table – and that’s it. If you need a refill on your drink or if you need the check, you have to flag them down.

If you are a fan of Peruvian cuisine then stop by, but stick to the chicken dishes, otherwise do not waste your time or money.

The food was such a disappointment that dessert was not an option.

A shared appetizer and two entrees cost $36. So unless you are willing to dish out for frustration, steer clear of Wanka Restaurant.

Is there a restaurant you have been looking at but you’re not sure if to give it a try? Let me know and I will go and review it. Contact me at skaragiannis@queensledger.com.

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Rose Gabring
May 21, 2011
I live in the neighborhood and I've noticed this is only an express delivery place. They have some tables but the crew gives priority to the to-go service. Food is ok. Service is ok unless they are forgetting the tables due to take out orders and food takes way too long to come to the table from the kitchen.

PS. If you like healthy food such as vegetables or salads stay away.