A new restaurant called Ocopa is bringing Peruvian chicken and ceviche to 1324 H St. NE this April.
Leading the kitchen is chef Carlos Delgado, who previously worked at Boveda and The Caucus Room Brasserie and is also one of the masterminds behind the CreamCycle ice cream sandwich bicycles. Delgado is partners in Ocopa with Chicken Tortilla owners Eddie Migues and Italo Rodriguez. The restaurant gets its name from a Peruvian sauce made with a type of black mint called huacatay, which Delgado will use in his chicken recipe. He describes the cuisine as “classical flavors with modern techniques.”
The restaurant will serve traditional Peruvian chicken, with a to-go option, for lunch and a more extensive menu heavy on ceviches for dinner. The 25-seat restaurant will have a 10-seat ceviche bar where guests can watch the fish being prepared from the open kitchen. Delgado grew up in Callao, Peru, which the chef says is considered the birthplace of ceviche. “I was born and raised in the port, and my grandma would take me to eat ceviche everyday,” he says.
Ocopa will also serve tiradito, the Peruvian version of carpaccio or sashimi dressed in a spicy sauce. And taking further inspiration for the Japanese immigrant population in Peru, Delgado will also have a variety of Peruvian-style maki sushi. Other dishes include causa, a mashed yellow potato dish with layers of meats, seafoods, or other ingredients, as well as anticuchos, grilled meat skewers. (One example: Delgado will have a grilled beef heart skewer that’s first cooked sous-vide for 48 hours to make it super tender.) In the summertime, the restaurant will have a rotisserie to cook whole hogs on the patio.
Bartender Glendon Hartley, who creates cocktails for Cava Mezze Group and previously worked at Founding Farmers, will oversee the drink menu. Expect mostly Peruvian drinks with plenty of pisco and Peruvian beers.
Photo courtesy Carlos Delgado