Bar Eats: Raymi
Peruvian cuisine has a new haute home in Raymi, a cavernous restaurant and bar featuring modern interpretations of this multicultural cuisine, influenced by Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Andean cooking. Featured within the space is a separate ceviche bar serving a variety of seafood bathed in Peru's famous leche de tigre (literally "tiger's milk")—a blend of lime juice and spices that lightly cooks the fish.
Unlike other styles of ceviche, where the seafood marinates in citrus until the flesh turns white, Raymi adds it just before serving so the fish remains nearly raw. Each version features a unique blend of leche de tigre and spices, such as the corvina (a common South American fish) with habanero and cilantro; rock shrimp with aji rocoto (a common Central and South American pepper); and octopus with aji amarillo (Peruvian yellow pepper). Raymi offers bite-size samplings at $4 each (pictured above).
If a few bites don't satisfy the appetite, Raymi also serves full-size portions of ceviche and tiraditos, a style of raw fish similar to Japanese sashimi or Italian crudo. The kitchen takes creative license with these traditionally lowbrow dishes, serving up refined versions such as the Tuna Nikkei Ceviche ($18, pictured left) with white soy-yuzu, avocado, daikon, cucumber and nori; and the Fluke Classico Tiradito ($15, pictured right) with sweet potato purée, toasted corn and Thai chilies.
At Happy Hour (5-7 p.m. daily, Tuesday all night), Raymi offers a selection of affordable bar bites culled from their regular dinner menu. Start with a pisco cocktail and a bowl of Chifles ($4), fried plantain chips served with smoked huancaina, a creamy sauce made from cheese and aji amarillo.
Other familiar Peruvian dishes include Causa ($4), a potato mash with a daily topping of seafood or vegetable, and a selection of Anticuchos ($5), grilled steak, chicken or shrimp skewers served with a variety of sauces. Among the offerings, the chicken anticucho (pictured) with sweet soy glaze and ginger-scallion sauce was one of the standouts.
Lastly, leave room for the Picarones ($4), Peruvian doughnuts made from a dough of squash and sweet potatoes. The light airy pastries are coated with miel de chancaca, brown sugar that has been darkly caramelized to a sticky and slightly bitter syrup.
About the author: Nancy Huang, who comes to New York by way of Los Angeles, writes The Wanderist, a food and travel blog of adventures here and abroad. She loves noodles, subway maps, and word games.