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Our foodie friends have been telling us Peruvian cuisine is the Next Big Thing, and after a few meals at new Peruvian-Japanese restaurant Paiche, we?re ready to believe them.  

Paiche is the new Marina Del Rey spot from hot chef and native Peruvian Ricardo Zarate (Mo-Chica, Picca). Along with a wide selection of the usual sashimis (tuna, yellowtail, uni), the menu includes the spot?s namesake, a terrifying-sounding (but yummy) six-foot-long South American fish--succulently grilled with miso and served in a lettuce wrap ($12), chopped into a hearty stew ($14), even sliced thin and served raw in a Peruvian tiradito with piquant sauce.

Paiche?s small-plates format gave our dinner party a chance to sample two or three dishes apiece; we passed around our favorites, spicy tuna fritters called tacu tacu ($8) and a lobster-heavy mixed seafood plate with fried rice ($12). (But we confess to bogarting the yuca-and-Manchego-cheese beignets, $8). 

The craft cocktail menu by Deysi Alvarez has creative concoctions involving pisco, rum and tequila; we loved our Palma Fizz ($13), a Moscow Mule jazzed up with pomegranate reduction and rosewater. (We?ll leave the non-alcoholic Incredible Vegetarian Hulk, however, to anyone needing more grass in her diet.)  

Paiche, 13488 Maxella Ave., Marina Del Rey; 310-893-6100 or

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