La Mar by Gaston Acurio – Miami

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La Mar by Gaston Acurio

(1) 305 913-8358
Mandarin Oriental, Miami,
500 Brickell Key Dr,
Miami, FL 33131

www.lamarcebicheria.com

Open Hours:
11:00 – 15:00    Lunch
18:00 – 23:00   Diner

To many the name “Gaston Acurio” might not mean much, but to those who follow the culinary industry like sport, he is a destined hall-of-famer!

After classic training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, Gaston returned to his native city of Lima and transformed Peruvian food into the world-wide power-hitter it is today.  Gaston Combined his classic techniques,  Peru’s unique pre-Columbian  ingredients & traditions and the strong local influence of Japanese cuisine (Nikkei) to create the Peruvian food now trendy the world over.

The 3-Star restaurant “Astrid y Gaston” is in Lima and we are planning a trip just to go! (It currently sits at number 18 on San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants).  So we did consider ourselves lucky to have access to a sample of his food in downtown Miami at the Mandarin Oriental hotel.  There  one finds his delicious restaurant La Mar.  We went for a late lunch and opted to sit in the terrace over the water and enjoy our meal in views of Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline.

The overall experience was a lovely melange of high-end dining and latin ease.  Unfortunately we arrived over 30 minutes late to our reservation and on the edge of  the kitchen’s last call (an epic über debacle!).  We arrived flustered and nervous as this was our only chance!  We were greeted, seated and eased out of our anxiety by the lovely hosts and our charming and very knowledgeable waiter.  And thus began our culinary delights ….

First off it is good to know that portions, are LARGE!  We ordered too much, ate way too much … but enjoyed it all and left feeling surprisingly light for all the calories consumed!

We started with a Ceviche sampler – going for the classics first.  It was a lovely mix of flavours with The Clásico (Fluke, cilantro, ají limo pepper, red onions, choclo corn, classic leche de tigre) being  the most refreshing.  It’s ‘the classic’ for a reason.

The Causa – a traditional potato based dish from Peru with raw fish and spices (see photo below) – has an amazing  combination of flavours and textures, but really it is all about the rocoto pepper sauce.

The following dish was the Grilled black grouper ‘Kama anticucho’ and its  bizarre shape and presentation.  This dish changed the way I think about fish; and I believe it is exactly what earned the Chef such a following.  It is fish for meat-lovers.  When the plate arrives, you are wondering what is in front of you, and as you have your first bit, all you are is happy!

The octopus was our least favourite of the day, it was a bit rubbery and makes you realize how temperamental a dish it is.  The potato on which it was plated however was jaw-dropping and I wish I had a serving in front of me as I type 🙂

This was followed by the Tiradito  Nikkei,  a lightly seared  tuna,over a marble of passion fruit leche de tigre and honey sesame reduction topped with scallions and sesame seeds.  I think that description says enough, and the photo the rest.  If you need more, well I suggest a trip to Miami!!

Even though we usually pass on dessert, we had to try the “Chocolate en texturas” .  A dish incorporating  a chocolate brownie, chocolate foam, chocolate ice cream (with 60% peruvian chocolate) and crystallized manjar drops with chocolate meringues.  I’m glad we broke tradition.

 Suffice to say, that if you find yourself in Miami a trip to La Mar should be high on your list.  Not to be a salesperson, but,  even the prices are quite decent.  We could have had a fried lunch on Miami Beach for close to the same cost; but no where near the flavour or happiness!

 LA MAR 003 copyCebiche Sampler
Chifa: salmon, with , ginger, cilantro, pickled vegetables in sesame leche de tigre topped with peanuts and wonton strips
Criollo: calamari, shrimp, yellowtail, snapper, cancha corn in, ají amarillo pepper leche de tigre
Clásico:  fluke, cilantro, ají limo pepper, red onions, choclo, classic leche de tigre

LA MAR 002 copyCausa Nikkei , tuna tartare, sweet with chili  sauce, avocado, rocoto pepper cream and  nori
LA MAR 014 copyGrilled black grouper Kama anticuchos, anticuchera sauce, chimichurri-garlic butter, lime
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LA MAR 012Tiradito  Nikkei: tuna, scallions, passion fruit leche de tigre, honey sesame reduction
  LA MAR 007 copyPlancha Anticuchera of grilled octopus, crushed potatoes, ají panca pepper sauce, chimichurri, choclo corn
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LA MAR Miami_015Chocolate en texturas

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