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Page history last edited by Mark P 14 years, 11 months ago

La Mar Cebicheria Peruana Review


La Mar Cebicheria Peruana served us decent but unexceptional fare in a fashionable setting.  As Oj said, this restaurant reminded us that the "quality of ingredients isn't [solely] enough to make dishes taste good."  Perhaps the best dish was the dessert of overpriced chocolate beignets.


The meal began with a basket of ordinary potato and sweet potato chips and strikingly good banana chips.  Along with the chips came three interesting, decent dips.


We entirely ordered appetizers.


The ceviche sampler arrived first.  The classic ceviche was a quality, traditional, fresh-tasting ceviche made with halibut.  We generally preferred the two Asian-inspired ceviches, with the Japanese one getting our vote as the favorite.  The Japanese ceviche, the nikei, had traditional Japanese flavors (don't ask me to remember what they are) infusing mahi mahi and avocado.  The Chinese ceviche, the chifa, reminded us, perhaps due to its won ton strips, of a lighter Chinese chicken salad, simply made with seafood instead of chicken.  The fourth item in our sampler, the mixto, was our least favorite, but I can't put my finger on what made it that much worse than the classic.


Next came the causas sampler.  Causas are basically whipped potatoes shaped into cylinders and topped or filled with something.  These were colorful--Peru has many different varieties of potatoes.  Nevertheless, people generally weren't fans of the dish, though they admitted they would've liked the causas better if they simply thought of them as fancy potato salad.  The limena (white filling in yellow potato), which was a crab salad in a potato, was the best of the lot.  The criolla (mahi mahi topping) (tan topping on a brown potato) and the nikei (tuna topping) (red topping on a white potato) were mostly potato and less appealing.  I'm told the vegetarian causa, the casera, was the worst of the bunch.


Our third dish was grilled octopus skewers ("antichuchos de pulpo").  Oddly, the octopus tasted like chicken.  (Yes, it was definitely octopus and looked the part.)  It was tender--a hard thing to do with octopus--though salty.  Decent enough.


Empanadas, which are hemispherical pastries stuffed with something, in this case stewed chicken ("aji de gallina"), were our fourth dish.  Though the crispy, almost fried skin was a bit oily, the filling wasn't bad and thus these were one of the better items of the meal.  They came with a salad that was dressed with an overwhelming amount of lime.


Our fifth dish was papa rellenas (potatoes stuffed with something).  In this case, they were stuffed with steak, raisins, and black olives.  They were like the causas, i.e., overly potato-y.


From the unusual dessert menu, we selected the (overpriced) orange-glazed chocolate beignets.  At one-inch diameter, these were smaller than regular doughnut holes and filled with molten dark chocolate.  Tasty, but pricey at $3 each, when each beignet was really only one or two bites.  They were served with small scoop of good banana-and-passionfruit ice cream and a chocolate-covered slice of dried banana shaped like a leaf.


For drinks, we tried the pisco sour.  Presented with a layer of foam on top, it was good and, due to the lime content, worked especially well with the ceviches.  Conversely, it didn't work at all with the meat dishes.  Also, one attendee had a coffee with dessert.  Although served in a funky triangular cup, it didn't taste like anything special.


La Mar is warehouse-like, stylish setting complete with high ceilings and an open kitchen.  The diners are tall (!) and fashionable.  The hostesses were similarly tall and very attractive.  One attendee managed to get himself locked in the coatroom with one.


We had good service.  The waiter did a great job altering our orders to make them easy to split four ways, and gave us good advice through his hesitation about recommending certain dishes.  Furthermore, not only were plates and utensils cleared at appropriate intervals and our water glasses refilled regularly, but also our dishes arrived nicely paced.


The total was $33/person including tax and tip but not including drinks.


Original Announcement


For the first time this calendar year, we'll have dinner two consecutive weeks!  Our destination this Wednesday will be La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, selected because it tied for first in last week's vote.  This restaurant, located near the ferry building, I've heard described as the "Peruvian seafood version of the Slanted Door."  Be warned: the restaurant will be expensive--it'll probably cost more person than our entire tab last week.


Note: I cannot seem to view the web page in firefox.  Your mileage may vary.


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