Breathtaking views and super fresh seafood dishes are what to expect at La Mar by Gaston Acurio.
The restaurant will open tonight at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Brickell Key. Diners can enjoy a mix of indoor and outdoor waterfront seating while nibbling on cebiche mixto or sipping on piscos at one of the with three bars. We got a taste of the cuisine when we stopped by for a preview lunch in December. Back then the restaurant was still under construction. We spoke to Gaston Acurio, the "Ambassador of Peruvian Cuisine," who had a strong vision for this space. Now the plan has come to fruition.
As to why he chose Miami for his latest U.S. project, joining La Mar Cebicheria in San Francisco and Tanta in Chicago, Acurio noted: "In Miami, you see Peruvian food growing faster than in any other city. Young guys are opening and small and medium-sized Peruvian restaurants. Mandarin Oriental recognized this and reached out. I said yes, immediately."
The world-renowned chef, also, noted his faith in executive chef Diego Oka to carry out the vision. "Diego [Oka] will lead the spirit and soul of this restaurant. We arrive with our recipes, our flavors, but we work with the best local fisheries and tell their stories," said Acurio.
Oka was has worked with Acurio for upwards of thirteen years and was at La Mar in San Francisco before moving to Miami. He knows the cuisine extremely well, back in November, he shared his story with Short Order. "I was born and raised in Peru, so all my life I was surrounded by amazing flavors and ingredients. Although my family comes from Japanese descent, we ate Peruvian food at home -- and a lot of it."
The flavors he is bringing to the menu are nikei, a Peruvian nigiri; anticucho grill items including wagyu beef, free range chicken, octopus, whole jumbo prawn and Peruvian asparagus for a vegetarian option; and tapas-style piqueos.
Although, it is the cebiches and tiraditos that really are the stars of the menu. There are more than fifteen different varieties priced between $9 -$29. The one that looked particularly delicious was the Bachiche with scallops, avocado, and garlic-truffle leche de tigre. Also, according to the menu board in the photo, stone crab cebiche may be featured! Way to make good on using local ingredients.
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Personally, as a former regular at La Mar in San Francisco, I am so excited to
see taste what Oka does with the local fish and produce. The causa dishes with the mashed potato topped with seafood were always a favorite that just melt like velvet in your mouth. At this location, expect to see variations with a beet causa with crab or rocoto causa with tuna tartare.
If you want to get even more excited about the opening, the Mandarin Oriental, Miami has partnered with LAN Airlines offering a chance to win two round trip tickets from Miami to Lima; dinner for two La Mar by Gastón Acurio at Mandarin Oriental in Miami; and lunch for two at La Mar Cebicheria in Lima, Peru. Entry details can be found by visiting this site. Submissions will be accepted through April 24.
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