Marjory Moreno holds one of her alfajores at her Peruvian...

Marjory Moreno holds one of her alfajores at her Peruvian restaurant Inka Fé in Great Neck. Credit: Andi Berlin

What are all these beautiful Peruvian goodies in the pastry case? A bright red cake with a fat layer of shiny gelatin on top;  puddings and mousses of every color and tropical fruit; flan cakes shaped into giant wheels and covered in syrup; a lemon pie; and a whipped cream log lined with cherries.

They're all Marjory Moreno's creations, brightening up the 24-year-old's chic cafe in Great Neck. Tucked into a strip mall just north of the main restaurant district on Middle Neck Road, Inka Fé may have Long Island's largest selection of Peruvian desserts. And of course, that includes her wicked-delicious alfajores, the iconic cookie sandwiches of South America. These are worth the trip alone (and a lot cheaper than a flight to Lima). Dusted with powdered sugar, two crumbly rounds of butter biscuit cookies are fused together with a supple dulce de leche filling ($3 apiece or $12 for a box of eight).

The heavenly cookies were developed with guidance from Moreno's mother Nelli Ponce. A native of Lima, Ponce would bake Peruvian delights and sell them for an extra source of income. She taught Moreno how to bake when she was 12 years old. When Moreno graduated from Queens College with a degree in psychology, she had trouble finding a job in children's behavioral health, and decided that she'd rather do baking full-time instead. She hounded her mom until Ponce finally agreed to help, and together they poured more than $100,000 of savings into their business … in the former home of a kosher restaurant named Mr. Plov. 

The name Inka Fé is a witty pun that sounds like “cafe” and translates to Inka “faith” in Spanish. 

“I'm excited to share the history of my ancestors through their pastries,” Moreno said, referring to the indigenous people of Peru. “I have a lot of 'faith' that everything will work out for us.” 

The two decided to add a small restaurant menu, serving Peruvian staples like ceviche and varieties of arroz chaufa, the fried rice dishes commonly served in chifa, or Peruvian-Chinese restaurants. Her lomo saltado ($29.99) also reflects Asia's influence on the South American cuisine — slabs of filet mignon stir-fried with soy sauce and slivers of onion and tomato. Here, the crispy French fries are on the side. Showing off her dedication to Peruvian gastronomy, the dish also arrives decked out with a bright yellow tuile wafer garnish that's usually used to denote high cuisine.

Moreno has put a lot of effort into her little cafe to make it shine. The simple dining room is accented sets with white tables and golden metal chairs while a projection screen plays a mixtape of Juanes and Shakira music videos. Moreno serves the customers, handing out salty plates of Inka corn and sweet cups of the bright purple corn drink, chicha morada. The casual cafe feels like a more natural destination for lunch, but even during dinner, Inka Fé is charming and sweet. 

Inka Fé, 178 Middle Neck Rd., Great Neck, 516-765-0269, Open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. 

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