Among the traits that my friends have in common, other than enjoying great food and company, is their love for world travel. A few visited Peru at the beginning of the year and regaled us with their stories and pictures. Among some more obvious Peruvian travel destination, they visited a restaurant in Lima called La Mar, only to later find that it had US presence as well (in hopes to repeat the experience). At the time, there was a location in San Francisco and one coming in NY....which brings me to last week.
While staying in New York, a friend reminded me of La Mar, which coincidentally opened in the city just the week before. We snagged a late dinner reservation and took in the space formerly occupied by Tabla.
Alive with buzzing servers, busy bartenders and helpful hosts, it's a little bit of Lima in New York. Strong scent of citrus envelops the bar, with pisco sours being made at a twenty-a-minute rate, and entertainment provided by knowledgeable bar staff (Sal in particular). Though we went on to dine at a table, bar side service is also available.
The food is awesome with spot on, balanced flavors in ceviches. It's the perfect Asian meets Latin meets giant corn, I expected from Peruvian cuisine. Causas are also something to consider; Peruvian whipped potato topped with sashimi...so near and dear to a Russian's heart. Portions are small, tapa style for the ceviches, but entrees are perfect. We concluded with picarones for dessert -Peruvian fritters with banana purée and spiced chancaca honey per Sal's recommendation. He said it made him remember growing up over a bakery --- he was right. Though completely unrelated, this is what I'd hoped churros would be like before ever trying them.