Among the traditional southern barbecue joints and American cuisine that we are accustomed to in Western North Carolina, the restaurant Cono Sur is changing things up by serving Peruvian dishes. Located in Mills River and open Tuesday to Sunday with a price tag that won’t break the bank, this restaurant is the perfect place to try something new and exciting.
The atmosphere of Cono Sur is unique, with traditional music playing in the background at a perfect volume, but the lighting was dark in places, and the wall decor clashed a little bit. The seating was another odd component of the restaurant. There were a lot of two-seat tables and a couple of six-seat tables, so I had to push tables and chairs together to accommodate my family. The chairs are also very uncomfortable, made of metal and feeling like you are being squeezed into them.
Even though the tables and chairs were not ideal, the staff at Cono Sur was amazing. They were very attentive, asking if we needed anything and updating us on how long our food would take and always ending with “my pleasure.” The restaurant is perfect for families and children with a menu that ranges from traditional Peruvian food to pizza and burgers.
I ordered the Chorrillana: a dish comprised of a base of french fries with beef strips, chorizo (a spicy mexican sausage), sauteed onions and fried eggs. The dish was perfect. The chorizo added a nice spice, but, overall, it was a sweet dish. The eggs were fried perfectly, still having a runny yolk. The french fries could have been crispier, but they were not too salty, and the onions added a nice crunch. The beef got hidden in the amount of chorizo and onions but what I had of it was cooked and seasoned perfectly.
To drink, I ordered a traditional Peruvian soda called Inca Kola. The drink was very sweet, tasting like a mixture of bananas and bubblegum. It is perfect for someone with a sweet tooth.
Along with the Chorrillana, I ordered the empanadas, which were filled with ground beef and a boiled egg, and came with a side salad. The crust on the empanadas was buttery and savory and the insides had a sweet element to it making it a perfect contrast and a well rounded dish.
My overall rating of the restaurant would be a 8.5/10, only because of the tables and chairs. The good definitely outweighed the bad. The faults of this restaurant would only be noticed by seriously picky people. Cono Sur is overall an amazing restaurant and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to try something new.
By: Max Portugal, Feature Writer