NEW YORK, NY
In my West Village quest of the night a little bit ago, I happened about a quiet, small and serene little restaurant. With a small outdoor area that had been designed with a palm frond like enclave over a light wood section, my interest was piqued to see what was inside. Using my trusty and handy foodie exploration tools, I found that the name of this restaurant was Llama San, a highly celebrated restaurant and sister to Llama Inn…
Then it dawned on me recollection of this restaurant. It was a Japanese Peruvian restaurant that I had tried relentlessly to get a reservation at in pre-Covid times. It was just impossible to get one that I had given up and subsequently forgotten about it. Looking in again, I realized that there were empty tables so I decided to inquire as to if I could have dinner that night. Unfortunately for me, all the tables were reserved for the night but I was advised to make a reservation. “Yeah right” I thought. I could not get one before so surely I would have no luck this time. Checking nonetheless, to my utmost surprise, they had tables available. They were a few days out and only available at 5pm but at least I would finally be able to experience their cooking. Before making the reservation, I took a quick look at the menu and noticed that they all appeared to be small plates. Surely, I needed a friend to come along so that I could try several items on the menu. And that most certainly was what eventually happened. They have a pre-fix option here where you can select three items on the menu. My friend and I went with this option allowing us to get six items on our visit. Now, generally when I write for you all, I am posting about my first visit to the restaurant. However, I was so engrossed in the magic of flavors of what was going on in my mouth that I did not capture a thing. Bad behavior on my part as a food story teller but this is just that kind of place. You come for a beautiful night whether indoors in their space with clean lines and low lighting or outside in their pseudo jungle fever enclave. So what happened at the end of my meal was that I made another reservation, immediately after I left. It is that second experience that you will be reading about this time.
I had two ceviches, one that I had already thoroughly enjoyed on my first visit and another that was new to the menu since my last visit. The first that I enjoyed was the new tuna ceviche which was the new addition to the menu. This was laid in a bowl of ponzu which is naturally a rather sharp taste on the palette. If you have not had ponzu before, think of how distinct a flavor and feeling you have in your mouth when you taste vinegar. They do not taste the same at all but you understand my point. The sharpness of the ponzu very much complimented and provided life to the cut of tuna which was not a fatty tuna belly cut. That might have been an interesting flavor to taste though. This was instead a more reserved and tame tuna to a lively ponzu and black trumpet mushrooms to boot. I was sold. Second was the scallop ceviche. This was my second time having this one and I very much prefer this staple over the new entry. The broth of this ceviche had a subtle sweetness to it that emphasized the delicate scallop. The avocado provided a fatty richness that when enjoyed with the sauce and scallop at the same time made for an interesting compliment of flavors
Aged Duck Breast Nigiri
If there is any dish that you must get when you visit this restaurant. It is this one. Quite frankly, I feel that you will be missing out one of the key dishes that you must eat at this restaurant. The other dish is the Iberico Pork Tonkatsu with udon. I had that on this visit again a second time but did not capture the photo unfortunately. It was just as phenomenal as the first time I had it and I have every intention of going back and having it a third time.
But I digress. This is the aged duck breast nigiri. This rice is glutinous and thick coated in a savory and decadent cilantro sauce. The duck is a decently sized slice with a sweet sauce spread atop and then covered with a nasturtium leaf. This is insanely good. I also did have this at my first visit and … you guessed it… I will be going back a third time to have it again
Chicken Thigh Maki
My final dish was the chicken thigh maki with aji amarillo, olives and walnuts. This was quite an interesting one and I found it best when all items in its composition were eaten together. Generally, I prefer to be able to enjoy individual components of a dish before it all together but truly the beauty of this dish is when all elements are combined. I did take a moment to enjoy the presentation on the plate. The warm yellow and sharp black contrast made for a very interesting and fun view that I appreciated
And there you have it, my short second adventure to this incredible restaurant. I am going to keep my eyes to their website for any changes in their menu as I will be first in line to make yet another reservation to eat at this remarkable restaurant. Till next time!