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Venue Review: Genaro's Rotisserie & Grill

Here's to Peru, by the plate
Genaro's Rotisserie & Grill
By "Helen Schwab, Restaurant Writer"
The Charlotte Observer

10405 Park Road, Charlotte; also in Indian Trail at 14039 N.C. 74 E.

More info about restaurant

Yes, it's hot. But true restaurant warmth - as in a simple, sincere welcome and attentive service - is still in startlingly short supply in Charlotte.

Genaro's delivers that warmth with grace and consistency.

Its Peruvian food - especially the signature rotisserie chicken, but also perfectly fried yuca and sweet plantain, choclo (the huge-kerneled corn served with a cheese sauce tinged with aji amarillo, a yellow Peruvian pepper) and soupy beans - is soothing, yet flavorful.

The Pineville location (there's another, the first, in Indian Trail) bustles with a bright Latin soundtrack and bright red walls, decorated with images of whitened tree trunks (think rainforest). You'll notice a long counter and display case of desserts immediately, and the feel is "diner," but don't move to order there: You'll be seated, and servers come to the table.

Servers greeted customers immediately on our visits, even when it was busy, with a smile, and got them settled speedily. They also offer guidance, if you ask.

Newcomers or those less adventurous can hardly do better than the chicken, done in a wood-charcoal-fueled rotisserie oven imported from Peru and so smoky and succulent it's surprisingly easy to wolf down an entire bird. (At $14.95 for the combo with two sides, however, it's an economical meal for two.) But don't overlook the tomato-less ceviche or the enormous seafood platter, recommended to me by a young server who clearly relished both its flavor and generosity: Shrimp, fish, mussels, calamari, all on moist rice: a festival of juicy excess for $13.95.

Owner Duilio Macchiavello says the chicken is definitely most popular, and that he uses fresh-frozen chiles imported from Peru in the two accompanying sauces, one with the aji amarillo and the other with a green chile - which are not always easy to procure. "That's what I do all the time: I run around and get my items." Tilapia made with both sweet and hot peppers is another testament to his sourcing.

Macchiavello comes from Italian stock - his grandfather traveled to Peru and stayed; Duilio's father was born there, and so was Duilio. He knows the amalgam of influences that form Peruvian cuisine: "We have a lot from everywhere. We have French, Chinese, Italian." You'll see the Chinese influence in the saltados (something like stir-fries, except with French fries - no, really; it's traditional) and the French in assorted other touches; other cuisines also exert a pull. Lovely mixed spring greens make the salads bright, and don't miss rich beef heart skewers if they're offered.

I was disappointed only in an oily saltado and a steak that had good flavor but was definitely tough. It was lifted by a marvelous, thin Peruvian version of chimichurri that employs huacatay, also known as Peruvian black mint, along with the usual garlic, parsley, oregano and olive oil.

Even desserts, made in-house, show the blend of influence. Tres leches cake is a beautiful, simple version he developed with the owner's wife at now-defunct Olé Olé in Charlotte (he says he's also had stints from Cantina 1511 to Showmar's), while the napoleon-like mil hojas (meaning "thousand sheets") is made with puff pastry and whipped cream with dulce de leche (a sort of caramelized cream). There are flan and cookies, too.

Chicha morada, the classic and interesting soft drink made with purple corn, fruit and spices, is in attendance, along with Peruvian beer and Inca Kola (a sweet, golden drink sometimes dubbed "liquid bubblegum").

His clientele runs about half folks who are familiar with Peruvian food and half who are unfamiliar, after two years at this site, 4 1/2 in Indian Trail. There are still people who come in expecting pizza, the cost of naming the business after his father, but he finds some explanation goes a long way toward making people comfortable.

That chicken can finish the job.

Reviews & Comments
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July 28, 2011 - The Charlotte Observer - Helen Schwab, Restaurant Writer

Yes, it's hot. But true restaurant warmth - as in a simple, sincere welcome and attentive service - is still in startlingly short supply in Charlotte. Genaro's delivers that warmth with grace and consistency.

(Full review)
Aug 08, 2011 - drabinov
BEWARE of their gift certificates

Food and service are OK but BEWARE, they will not honor gift certificates that have expired (I'm talking about a gift certificate not a discount coupon!). My family and I have been going to the restaurant an average of once every couple of months for the past two years, and I explained to the owner that we just kept forgetting to bring along the gift certificate, but he wouldn't make any exceptions. He's certainly entitled to being inflexible and stubborn, but we will not go again to his restaurants. There are other Peruvian restaurants in the Charlotte area....

Jul 31, 2011 - frankie001
argh, dont eat the fish

ate the see vee jay and got really sick, they didnt cook the fish or shrimp and had diarrehqa for 4 days. o man if i only knew, it ust of beeen de water, ha ha

Jul 31, 2011 - ddpeckers246
Pah Leaseeeeee

Their chix wings are a copy of dd pekckers, the waiters are rude, the owner is never there, some lady is there during the ddays. GO TO POLLO LOCO or CHICKEN COOP for better chicks.

(no rating) Jul 31, 2011 - katie123
Helen Needs to Retire

Oh come on Helen. Dulio hasn't had a job since he got fired from Momma Riccata's ten years ago. His "mommy" " owns the restaurant and the family runs the business. Get a glue!! helen, just retire and be done with it.

Jul 30, 2011 - tstout

Save yourself the time-order the chicken. It is sublime.

Jul 30, 2011 - mattsimone
Food, Service is Excellent

Been going to the Indian Trail location for almost 4 years now. We have never had a bad experience with the food or the service. Both have been fantastic. I send people here all the time who are looking for some place new and different to eat. You will NOT be disappointed!

Jul 29, 2011 - komodoman
Never a problem

I've eaten at Genearos 8-10 times and never had an issue with service. Mari123 claims they sat in a restaurant for 90 minutes and didn't get any food - either you're a liar, or you're the biggest wimp in the state. Why didn't you stand up and go look for a manager, mari?? Neither of their locations are that big and they have plenty of other servers you could have flagged down.

I tend to believe your post is BS.

Jul 29, 2011 - WAnglais1
Love This Place

I've been going to "The Gs" for a few years now (original and Pineville locations). I have never had any issues with the wait staff. The food is excellent, the prices well within my budget, and the atmosphere warm and friendly.

I've never had a bad experience there and take friends and family from out of town when they come to visit. As a matter of fact, one night after not coming around for a couple of months, the staff members asked where I had been and why I hadn't been in recently. That's the kind of place this is.

In a sea of chain restaurants in the Metro area, this makes me happy for the small business guy making a run at it.

(no rating) Jul 29, 2011 - STR3
Hey, Mari123

No disrespect here, but just get it to go and save yourself the service issue. It's excellent food you can enjoy at your own family table. They run out of food, go somewhere else. Very simple.

(no rating) Dec 22, 2010 - MARI123

POOR CUSTOMER SERVICES .My family and I have experience poor customer services at this restaurant on several different occasions. My family and I frequent this establishment on a regular basis, and we have found that there is a reoccurring problem with employee customer service. The only reason that we have continued to patronize this place of business, is because my family and I truly enjoy your Peruvian dishes. During my most recent visit to this restaurant , my family and I had the worse customer service that we have ever experience from any restaurant ever!!!
When we arrived at this establishment, we ordered our meal and waited patiently for our food to be prepared. We were told approximately 10-15 minutes after we ordered our food that the restaurant had run out of rotisserie chicken. The server did not ask if we wanted to order something different, but proceeded to tell us that we would have to wait for what we had already ordered. Because we really enjoy peruvian food, we decided to wait and ordered appetizers. After another 30 minutes wait, we still did not get our appetizers or meal. During this time, the server had not returned to our table to bring our order or check on us. When we finally got his attention, we asked why we had not received our appetizers; he stated that the cook had to leave the restaurant to purchase some hot dogs from the grocery store. My family and I were very disappointed that no owner, manager or server ever came over to our table, to explain or apologize for the long wait time, or poor customer service my family and I were experiencing.
Finally, after approximately 1½ hours of not getting any food or service, we decided to leave and patronize another competitor restaurants. My family and I still can’t believe the poor customer service that we received on this last visit, especially with the state of today’s economy; good customer service should be a primary focus/goal. Apparently this company or employee’s do not realize that Good Customer Service is critical and the key to success in any business today, and word of mouth on Poor Customer Service can sink a company fast.

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