At Maura Kitchen in Nyack, a New Menu (With Tapas! And Cocktails!)

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Wow! Who knew!? The last time we went to Maura’s Kitchen, it was to pick up some terrific roast chicken takeout. This time, we’re sipping pisco sours and guffawing over how delicious the ceviche is.

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Yes, it appears that Maura’s Kitchen in Nyack has transformed from a dependable takeout spot to a sophisticated restaurant with small plates and proper cocktails.

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And beer! At 9 p.m. Dec. 7, Maura’s is pairing with Kuka, the local brewery, to do a beer dinner. You get 3 courses — 2 tapas, an entree and dessert — for $36. Here’s the info on eventbrite.

That above dish is “Fish Bites,” a share-able tapas dish made with lightly battered tilapia chunks with a drizzle of honey and aji amarillo reduction (aji amarillo is a yellow Peruvian chili). We all agreed was expertly prepared, except we’re not huge fans of tilapia. If it ever comes with cod, we’re goners.

The cocktail is the pisco sour: an absolutely perfect version made with Pisco Porton, a premium brand that owner Tyrone Azenado says really brings out the flavor of the cocktail.

Here, a crazy-good special: littleneck clams and potatoes steamed with chicha de jora (a Peruvian corn chowder) and homemade seafood stock. Holy! So good. We sipped up every last bit of sauce with our spoons and then used yuca fries to sop up the last drops.

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Ceviche with shrimp and calamari, with aji rocoto cholo (Peruvian corn), and sweet potato. Just delightful.

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Fish tacos. On the tortillas, guacamole with aji amarillo. Drizzled over the top: an acevichado sauce (a sauce in the style of ceviche). All nearly perfect, save for tilapia. But the panko crust? Fantastic: crunchy, not at all oily. The cabbage? Fresh and crisp. The sauce, just enough kick.

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Here’s the chaufa. It’s fried rice with chicken and Peruvian soy sauce with a cinnamon blend, topped with egg. Unbelievably delicious.

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It wasn’t on the menu, but we asked about the roast chicken, remembering how much we’ve adored it in the past. Indeed, it’s available for those who ask.

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It’s marinated with Peruvian beer and spices for 24 hours, then cooks for 4 to 5 hours on a rotisserie. Crispy skin; juicy, flavorful meat. A triumph.

The lighting at the restaurant is just right.

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And I don’t know another restaurant that can do a pisco sour as well.

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For dessert, we had a bowl of ice cream made from lucuma, a fruit that looks a little like papaya and tastes like butterscotch. No photo, but it was fantastic!

It’s a pleasure to have an old favorite restaurant become a new favorite one, too. We’ll be back soon.

The 411 on Maura’s Kitchen: 248 Main St, Nyack. 845-535-3533, mauraskitchen.com.

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

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