After owning multiple restaurants in twelve countries, globally-renowned Chef Gastòn Acurio opened his first New York City restaurant, La Mar Cebicheria, in September 2011. La Mar Cebicheria Peruana overlooks historic Madison Square Park. La Mar’s Executive Chef Victoriano Lopez has been Gaston’s right-hand man for years, and his menu features bright, clean, and beautiful cebiches (citrus marinaded seafood appetizers) as well as other traditional Peruvian classics.
Known as the “Ambassador of Peruvian Cusine,” Chef Gastòn Acurio brings the flavors of Peru to each dish at La Mar. Inspired by cebicherias, La Mar’s menu offers Peruvian cuisine, focusing on textures, bright colors, and luxurious ingredients. Traditional Peruvian dishes include cebiche (the national dish of Peru), causas (whipped potato dishes), and antichuchos (grilled skewers). La Mar emphasizes local ingredients such as seasonal produce from New York City’s farmer’s markets.
When I first arrived to La Mar, I was immediately struck by the atmosphere. After walking through busy Madison Square Park, I arrived at a quiet and grand space. Reminding me of a modern loft in NYC, the bi-level space is contemporary, with pops of bright colors. One of my favorite Peruvian-inspired design was the textured wall that you pass going up to the second floor. The wall features thousands of different colored Peruvian corn kernels. The décor is romantic and trendy, yet subtle. It is perfect for a dinner date, or a night out with friends.
After being seated, our waiter asked us if we wanted to start off the meal by trying the Peruvian Corn. We were surprised at the kernels’ size. Larger than American corn, the Peruvian Corn tasted similar to eating a lima bean. It had a chewy texture, but was delicious. Along with the Peruvian Corn, we sampled the Causa Tasting. A Peruvian appetizer, the Causas are whipped potatoes topped with seafood or meat. The Causa Tasting features three causas. My favorite was the Nikei Causa, which had yellow fin tuna, smoked salmon, and wasabi in it.
The cocktail menu is created around pisco, the national spirit of Peru. After hearing great recommendations we ordered the Pisco Sour and the Pisco Punch to try. The Pisco Sour was refreshing and light, while the Pisco Punch was more sugary with its pineapple undertone. Both were delicious, and complemented the summer weather.
As it approached our time to order entrees, our waiter was extremely helpful and informative of the menu. We chose the arroz con Mariscos (rice with calamari, octopus, shrimp, scallops, and vegetables). Entrees were on the larger side, which made it easier to split between myself and a friend. It was delicious with just the right amount of flavor. The presentations were expert, and I was impressed with the knowledge of the staff. We ended with dessert, the Chef’s Sampler-a tasting of four desserts. This specialty included their sorbets de la estaciòn, which was an exotic fruit flavor, the trufas de chocolate, the enrollado, and picarones. All of the samplers complemented each other with hints of fruit, rich chocolate, and cream. It was the perfect way to end a fabulous night.
I highly recommend this restaurant. Chef Gastòn Acurio has created a restaurant that is special, but still ties back to its Peruvian inspiration. The delicious food, cocktails, helpful staff, and warming décor was a great way to end the week.
11 Madison Ave at 25th St New York, NY 10010
Monday – Thursday: 11:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.