Friday, January 13, 2012

La Mar Cebicheria (New York)

The first time I visited La Mar in Lima, Peru, I fell in love. With ceviche, with causa, with Peruvian rice. We loved it so much we went back for a last meal before we left Peru. I was very excited when La Mar in San Francisco opened. Alas, I was disappointed - I think the service (and lack thereof) contributed to my bad impression (I received the wrong ceviche and when I told his waiter, his response was "ok". No apology and no correction was made).

I gave La Mar in the US another try with the New York location, where the kitchen is managed by executive chef Victoriano Lopez who was Gaston Acurio's right hand man for almost twenty years. Unlike the casual, outdoor Lima location, the New York La Mar is lavish and posh.

We started with the Cebiche tasting, pre-set to consist of three types: elegance, popular, and nikei cebiche) - $28

Ceviche sampler
The "elegance" was a cebiche with warm water fluke, red onions, Peruvian corn, and yam in a "leche de tigre of five elements" - whatever the five elements are. The "popular" had salmon, shrimp, and Spanish day-boat octopus in a green leche de tigre with crispy calamari. The "nikei" is reminiscent of an ahi poke, made with yellowfin tuna, red onion, cucumber, daikon, avocado, and nori in a tamarind leche de tigre.

All three of the ceviches were very good, with all of us having different favorites (mine was the "popular"). On the other hand, for the price the portions were really small. Since there were four of us, it was definitely not enough and we had to get a full order. I wanted to try something different so we ordered the Limeno cebiche (fluke, Spanish day boat octopus, calamari, scallops, blue shrimp, in aji limo leche de tigre) - $19
Limone Cebiche
The seafood used was really fresh and unlike many ceviches I had in LA where the leche de tigre is so tart, we even drank the ones here by the spoonfuls even when the fish was finished.


Pisco cocktails are aplenty, naturally. The bartender recommended the Lluvia de Los Andes (pisco quebranta, Japanese cucumber, basil, lime) - $15
Pisco cocktail

Corazon anticuchos (beef hearts with anticucho sauce, smashed fried potatoes, choclo, and huacatay sauce) - $11
Corazon Anticucho
These were the anticuchos I remembered having in Peru! The heart meat then was so tender I could not forget the taste - and could not find another like it, until now.

For my entree, I went with a rice dish:
Arroz con Pato (cilantro and dark beer-cooked rice, slow-braised duck leg, peas, choclo, ensalada criolla of radish) - $29
Arroz con Pato
I couldn't really pinpoint the beer flavor in the rice but it was quite unlike any rice I've had before and absolutely delicious. The duck leg was similarly very flavorful, moist and tender. I was already pretty full but I couldn't stop eating.

Tried a bit of one of my dining companion's Arroz con Mariscos (pan-fried rice with calamari, octopus, shrimp, scallops, mussels, market vegetables, ajies, and salsa criolla) - $28
Arroz con Mariscos

For dessert I ordered the Enrollado (guava with quinoa pudding and hazelnut ice cream) - $12
Enrollado
I didn't know what to expect from the description, but when it arrived the name "enrollado" suddenly makes perfect sense. While the dessert didn't blow my away, it was still interesting.

I was really happy that my visit to La Mar in NYC was a hit - from the cebiches (get the full order, not the tasting) to the anticuchos to the entree. It was much more expensive than the one in Lima, but the ticket to New York is cheaper than to Lima ... hopefully the SF location will catch up and be this good soon!

La Mar
La Mar Cebicheria Peruana
11 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10010
(212) 612-3388
http://www.lamarcebicheria.com/web/index.php
La Mar Cebicheria Peruana on Urbanspoon

1 comments:

Smitten Byfood

The food looks interesting. We don't have much peruvian food in Malaysia.

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