Some of his dishes never arrive, and a few of the big, shareable items would work better as solo portions. But still, Pete Wells is charmed by Llama Inn, the new Peruvian restaurant from Eleven Madison Park veteran Erik Ramirez. Here's Wells on two of the dishes that surprised him:
The most unusual thing about the fluffy drift of quinoa tossed with avocado, bacon, cashews and caramelized bananas is that Mr. Ramirez has come up with a quinoa salad that isn’t depressing. It’s actually kind of lovable.
At other times, he lifts and twists entire recipes. The roast whole chicken, with smoke in its meat and blackened chile rub on its skin, isn’t so much an alteration of the Peruvian standard as an intensification. The bird comes with three sauces, each spicy in a different way. One, the creamy yellow salsa huancaína, is also squiggled over a daunting heap of fried potato wedges that comes with the chicken.
The critic also digs the raw fish dishes and the inventive cocktails. Two stars.