Las Brasas Peruvian Restaurant opening this Saturday
By Dena Mellick, Associate editor
The Peruvian restaurant Las Brasas is opening in its new location on Church Street this Saturday.
The popular chicken rotisserie is reopening at 614 Church Street in Decatur after outgrowing its 310 Howard Avenue location, where it resided for eight years. A hot dog joint called Doggy Dogg moved into that building.
Jonathan Hartnett, who owns Las Brasas along with Michael Koechlin, told Decaturish the restaurant’s soft opening is happening this Saturday, September 26 from 11:30 a.m. until 11 p.m. He said they expect to have the grand opening the following weekend.
“We’ve got most everything on the menu ready to go, but we’re going to have a shorter menu, but we’ll definitely have all of the items that we had at the old place,” Hartnett said.
Harnett said though their kitchen is well-staffed, they are still trying to hire servers and dishwashers. A hiring message was posted on Las Brasas’ Facebook page last week.
Hartnett said demand was so strong for the restaurant to open, they decided to have the soft opening Saturday, even though some of the Peruvian barbecue items they plan to have on the menu aren’t ready yet.
“Everybody’s kind of coming by, knocking down the door to figure out when we’re going to have the chicken available,” Hartnett said. “People are literally coming every five minutes to see if they can get chicken.”
He said the original location only offered the Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken, but the new menu is expanding to include Peruvian barbecue items like beef heart, filet mignon, duck, and fish. Hartnett said they ordered a grill from Peru and are still calibrating it, since it is very high heat, so grilled items may not be available yet on Saturday.
Other new additions to the menu: fresh white fish, octopus, squid, and lump shrimp. The co-owner said Las Brasas will also have a seafood lime marinade called Leche de Tigre or tiger’s milk. “It’s almost like a drink that has ceviche in it; it’s something very unique. … It’s like a marinade that you drink,” Harnett explained.
Hartnett said menu sides include hand-cut sweet chips, hand-cut fries, grilled asparagus that’s native to Peru, and quinoa salad. “It’s a very authentic Peruvian menu,” he said. Hartnett said their popular Peruvian mint sauce that goes with the chicken will still be on the menu, in addition to two new sauces. While the majority of the menu is not geared for vegetarians, Hartnett said the sides and the vegetarian mushroom barbecue are options for those who forgo meat.
The bar will offer some traditional Peruvian drinks as well. Hartnett said they will feature pisco sours. “Pisco is the national liquor of Peru,” Hartnett explained. “It will be our premier drink. It’s got lime, simple syrup, pisco, and the traditional one is shaken with an egg white. … We’ll serve it with and without, but we definitely recommend it with the froth, with the egg white.”
The co-owner of Las Brasas said it was important for the restaurant to stay in Decatur.
“I think the concept marries perfectly with Decatur. All of the meat products that we have are all grass-fed beef,” Harnett said. “The chicken products we carry are all natural … Springer Mountain chicken. … I think Decatur appreciates what we’re trying to do.”