While has Peruvian chef Gaston Acurio has opened more than 30 restaurants around the world, few have been as big of a test as the branch of La Mar that is set to open in New York City this September.
Apart from A-Frame’s incredible Peruvian beer can chicken, I haven’t really had the chance to explore L.A’s Peruvian restaurant scene (though fully intend to). So, I’m letting LA Weekly’s James Beard Award winning restaurant critic Jonathan Gold do it for me. He’s one of my favorite restaurant critics and going through some of his reviews of Peruvian restaurants I think his understanding of the cuisine quite good. Here what he has to say about L.A.’s Peruvian dining scene in his reviews with the weekly paper:
For the past few months I have been pushing the NYTimes travel section to do a story on Peruvian chefs in the Amazon, but they had some similar story waiting to run. In last weekends travel section I discovered what that story was. Jay Cheshes, whose food writing I admire… Read More →
Gastón Acurio is Peru’s most famous chef and arguably the best-known Peruvian in the world. The son of a senator, Acurio went to study law in Madrid, Spain, but had a change of heart and went to Paris to Le Cordon Bleu culinary school. His first restaurant, Astrid y Gaston, was an instant success in Lima and it soon spurred satellite restaurants around Latin America and other chains based on the various types of Peruvian cuisine. The growth in popularity of Peruvian cuisine around the world in the past decade would not have been possible without him. Here is a list of Acurio’s vast restaurant empire around the world:
Ten years ago there were no good restaurants in Cusco, Peru. About five years ago came along Cicciolina, Map Café, and Inka Grill. Two years ago came Rafael Osterling’s Bistrot 370 and Gaston Acurio’s Chi Cha. Now it’s Coque Ossio’s Limo, which I consider on par with Bistrot 370 as the best restaurant in Cusco.
In the past year, I’ve seen more and more Peruvian restaurants in Lima adding Ceviche Frito (Fried Ceviche) to their menu. The concept sounds perplexing, but really isn’t. It’s basically battered and fried seafood that is given the same treatment of purple onions and bits of rocoto that are soaked lime juice (basically, leche de tigre) poured over it just like a typical Peruvian ceviche.
While I travel often, this past year has seen me go to more places and cover more ground than ever before. I hit up nearly every major Latin American capital and even had a few unknown destinations like Montreal and Reykjavik. I tasted, sipped, saw, touched, and learned more in 2010 than any other year of my life. Here are my restaurant highlights:
I only heard about the Gastronauts a couple of weeks ago. They’re an adventurous eating club based in New York City. An article in the NYTimes detailed their exploits, which consisted of a $50-70 per person multi-person dinner at an ethnic restaurant somewhere in the city. I applied to join via a form on their webpage as soon as I read the article and was accepted a few days later. About a week later the Gastronauts alerted members via email that the next dinner would be held in the Peruvian restaurant Urubamba in Jackson Heights, Queens.