Peruvians Come Out: La Mar Opens Patio

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Summer has officially begun at restaurateur Gaston Acurio’s upscale Peruvian restaurant La Mar Cebicheria Peruana in the Flatiron. Starting tomorrow, no longer do you have to dine in the sleek cavern of what once was Danny Meyer’s Tabla, because starting tomorrow they have an outdoor patio.

“Peruvian food is ideal for outdoor dining,” said Victoriano Lopez,the executive chef at La Mar NYC. “Sitting on our patio and enjoying cebiche and a refreshing pisco sour while overlooking the park, well, we hope this experience transcends people to Peru in some way.”

You might not feel like you are dining alfresco in Lima, but outdoor eating in New York City isn’t something to scoff at, and neither is this restaurant. Acurio opened La Mar in September 2011 on the premise of bringing class to what many people see as a cheap cuisine. I interviewed the restaurateur last year and he said, “Some, they think Peruvian food has to be really cheap or fried, and doesn’t have the same value as those other [cuisines]. But, we use the best ingredients you can find in the world, pay the same salaries that are paid in great restaurants, and we are in a great location that is expensive to be in. We aren’t just cheap food.”

A year since I spoke to Acurio, Peruvian food still hasn’t gotten the notoriety he has sought, but it’s not because the food isn’t excellent. The cebiches at La Mar are top notch and perfect for the hot weather.  “We hope to showcase our cuisine to New Yorkers and visitors alike with classic Peruvian dishes like cebiche, anticuchos, lomo saltado, and more,” said Lopez. “And we aim to deliver the same warm and generous spirit that’s present at Gaston’s restaurants around the world.”

Along with the new patio, La Mar will offer fresh menu items including baraca chalaca, a rock shrimp cebiche served with oysters, mussels, scallops, and a fish of the day; whole fish cebiches, either grilled or fried; and seasonal salads made with local ingredients and quinoa. At least now, with the new patio, people can really see what La Mar is doing.