By Michelle Li
Every restaurant has a story, and Surco Peruvian Cuisine's tale is one of humble beginnings—and the strength of family.
Twenty-four-year-old Claudia Dextre is the soft-spoken representative of her family and the east-side eatery they run together. "We're all a team," Dextre says modestly, referring to her parents and two brothers. "I think every member of our family has put forth an effort."
Her mother Maria's cooking and her father Wilfredo's accounting background combined to help form the business.
The Dextres opened the first Peruvian food cart at UW's Library Mall a couple of years ago, attracting diners with authentic, flavorful cuisine featuring innovative touches and a focus on organic ingredients.
The food cart's success led the family to open a permanent restaurant space off Cottage Grove Road last year. And diners both loyal and new have followed.
Fan favorites include the ceviches, or "Peruvian sushi." The lomo saltado al pisco is a staple, served with beef, rice and a difficult-to-find Peruvian whiskey. Quinoa salad with queso fresco and dime-sized Peruvian corn is also a hit, and fried yucca sticks and plantains remain popular choices.
Surco's chef, Reymundo Adame, makes mouthwatering dishes daily, but Dextre also wants customers to remember her family's heart.
"There are things that I have eaten that I will never forget," says Dextre. "I want them to remember us because they had a good experience."
Surco Peruvian Cuisine
515 Cottage Grove Rd.
Read more Madison Magazine stories about local restaurants here.
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