Miami Spice Monday: La Mar by Gaston Acurio

By Sophia Costabal

I have to start off by saying that I am a sucker for Peruvian food. There is something about the combinations of flavors and the heaping amounts of citrus in that cuisine that really tickles my taste buds. So, naturally, when I found out that I would be heading to La Mar (500 Brickell Key Dr, Miami) to get a first-hand look at their Miami Spice menu, I giggled like a little 9-year-old girl that has just found out she’s going to Disney to eat a Micky Mouse Ice Cream Sandwich (Me as a little girl. True Story).

Five of Chef Diego Oka’s culinary masterpiece creations in one night? Stick a Peruvian fork in me because I’m done. Literally. I didn’t even have room to eat the glorious dessert (in its entirety). Nine year old me would have been disappointed.

Menu highlights: The Miami Spice menu, available Sunday through Thursday, consists of two samplers, a main course dish and a dessert. And get this…All for only $39. Can we say DEAL?

The two samplers consist of a Tiradito Bachiche (scallop in 22-month aged parmesan cheese leche de tigre, basil oil, and garlic chips), as well as the Paiche Charapa (Amazon anticuchera, banana tacacho, and smoked bacon with a sachuculantro chutney).

For the main course, you get one of two options: the Cachetes de Ternera (veal cheeks, aji panca, chicha morada sauce, lima beans, mushrooms, and roasted cippolini onions) OR the Picante de Mariscos (a seafood stew with creamy spicy aji amarillo, golden potatoes, botija olives, and quail eggs).

And to wash it all down? La Pina for dessert. A coconut ice-cream ball with a dulce de leche foam, ginger jelly, and orange sauce.

Is your mouth watering? It should be!

Standout dishes: For the love of all that is holy… PLEASE do yourself a favor and get the Cachetes de Ternera as your main course. You can send me an email if you feel that it was not the most amazing piece of meat you have ever consumed. Not only was it sublimely soft, tender, and juicy, but the stew it was cooked in was reminiscent of something your grandmother would slave away at in the kitchen. A grandma with culinary education and a panache for a fusing flavors, that is.

A close second as my standout dish? The Tiradito Bachiche. Scallops? Check. 22-month aged parmesan cheese? Check. Leche de tigre (there’s that citrus). Check, check, check!! I almost licked the dish, the cheesy sauce was so amazing!

Are we boozing? There are no supplemental drink specials at La Mar during Miami Spice, but since you’ve already trekked over to the Mandarin Oriental, why not try a pre- or post-dinner cocktail at YAKU by La Mar (open Thursday-Saturday)? Thanks to Miami Spice, you can afford at least one!

Check this place out if you like: Damn good Peruvian food. The best in Brickell, in my opinion. Miami Spice is the perfect time to take advantage that this upscale restaurant offers delicious creations at a very accessible price. But make sure you take your time eating everything. You will absolutely want to leave space to finish up the entire La Pina dessert. You’ve been warned! 🙂

Sophia’s take: It is always a good time to go to La Mar. But these next two months, during Miami Spice, a visit to La Mar is a must! You will leave thanking me you did so. Trust me.

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