What is Pisco?
Pisco is the national libation of Peru that is distilled by fermenting grapes. In the 16th Century, grapes were brought over from Spain to South America and legend has it that the unused grapes that were left over from making the wine were then distilled into making Pisco. It must be aged for a minimum of three months in vessels that cannot alter the flavor, such as wood casks, and the result is an earthy yet floral taste that can be perfectly mixed into a cocktail or on its own.
Brothers Jorge, Eduardo and Walter Rodriguez grew up in Ica, Peru, just three hours south of Lima. Together with their parents, the family would routinely visit Los Angeles throughout the 1950s. In the 1960s, much of the extended Rodriguez family decided to make L.A. their permanent home, so when Peru’s political climate became fraught with terrorism in the early 1980s, the rest of the family decamped, and decided to come to Southern California as well.
Even though they had departed from their homeland, they still centered their family gets together’s around food. Back in Peru the would often go on picnics and spend the day enjoying each other’s company amid a bountiful offering of Peruvian treats, eating and chatting until the sun went down. Once they landed in Los Angeles, the family worked hard to maintain that tradition by getting together several times a week for lunch, but the question was always the same: “Where should we eat?” The Rodriguez brothers desperately missed their traditional Peruvian fare and found it difficult to find an eatery that would have all their favorite dishes in one place, so they decided to create the restaurant they wanted, and one they all felt Los Angeles deserved.
Though the genesis of Balcones des Peru started nearly 20 years ago, it wasn’t until nine years ago that the Rodriguez brothers had the opportunity to take over the space that Los Balcones now inhabits on the southeast corner of De Longpre Avenue and Vine. The brothers jumped at the chance when they were offered the spot, and they worked together to create an eatery that not only paid homage to their roots but also shared some of Peru’s rich history with their guests.
The Los Balcones menu is an eclectic mix of authentic Peruvian cuisine; some unique takes on traditional dishes, some modern plates, and, of course, some family favorites.
The Rodriguez brothers continue to stick together, nurturing the restaurant through its next exciting evolution. Jorge runs the operations and oversees everything, while Eduardo runs the front of the house and Walter runs the kitchen. And just like they used to go back home every afternoon they host the whole family for a fabulous meal and often use them as the sounding board to help test out new dishes for the menu.
Having just remodeled, Los Balcones is looking forward to offering Angelenos a new full bar that showcases the brothers’ favorite Peruvian cocktails, along with an exciting new menu. Ultimately, the restaurant’s mandate and the Rodriguez family philosophy is simple: to share the food that the family loves with the city they now call home. It’s a little bit of authentic Peru, right in the heart of Hollywood.