At La Mar on the pier, it’s all about ceviche

by Dave

SF Chronicle

Chef Gastón Acurio has a vision, and it permeates everything you see on the plate and in the decor at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, the Peruvian restaurant that opened in September on Pier 1 1/2. The building frames calming views of San Francisco Bay on one side and skyscrapers on the other.

Acurio has become an international celebrity chef with restaurants all over the globe, but this is his first in the United States. His vision, according to the restaurant’s Web site, is “to take the new concept of Peruvian cebicheria to the world.”

The building blocks of [Peruvian] cuisine, and the ingredients that show up repeatedly in both the traditional and contemporary dishes, are the chiles, particularly aji amarillo and rocoto; along with huacatay (often called black mint); and choclo, a big, starchy corn that resembles fattened hominy and is used in most ceviches and rice dishes. Many of these flavors also appear in the three sauces waiters put on the table when diners are seated.

Peru’s version of sashimi is tiraditos, but the raw slices of fish in such items as the kona kampachi ($15) are so heavily covered with aji amarillo, habanero and ginger sauce that the fish becomes almost a prop for textural contrast.

Peruvian food not only has Japanese influences but also incorporates flavors from Spain, Africa and China, which show up in iconic dishes like lomo saltado ($25), chunks of tender beef wok-seared with tomatoes, red onions and soy sauce, then topped with french fries.

Technorati Tags: , ,