Mixtura: You Can't Have-a the Mango!

Kirkland bar boasts mojitos, a decent happy hour, and a hot chef.

Mixtura was the hottest thing since sliced, er, yuca when it opened in downtown Kirkland almost two years ago. It's like meat-and-potatoes Andean food meets Le Cordon Bleu meets Pacific Northwest meets Picasso, all on one plate. Plus, the chef is hot. So whittle down the prices, give me a mojito, and call me pleased as Peruvian punch during happy hour (4–6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.–close) on a recent Thursday evening, right? Well, kind of. A few of the $3.50 small food plates were outstanding, such as the creamy chicken-salad sandwich on crusty bread and the velvety, fire-roasted chicken skewer served with cold green-chile mayo aji sauce. And the specialty cocktails ($5) were divine, especially the tart, maroon pomegranate lemon drop. But like a Milli Vanilli concert, this happy hour was not exactly as advertised. The mango mojito, although crisp and beautifully muddled, had no discernible trace of mango. And the beef-filled empanadas, whose description made me drool, were unavailable. The sauce-drowned papa a la huancaina tasted like deconstructed potato salad gone awry (my olive lover's heart was wooed by the promise of "botija olives" when, in fact, there was only one olive), and the classical guitarist, apparently, no longer strums on Thursdays as promoted on the Web site and window flyers. But, ultimately, it was still good to snack like a fancy South American—right down to having our own almost-exclusive waiter (since there was only one other couple eating in the place). 148 Lake St. S., 425-803-3310, www.mixtura.biz. KIRKLAND

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