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Greenwich Village’s Llama San Nabs Three Stars in Times for ‘Quietly Thrilling’ Fare

Pete Wells says Erik Ramirez’s Nikkei-inspired restaurant is his best yet

A torch lighting up a green banana leaf placed on top of a burrito-like roll Alex Staniloff/Eater

Another three-star accolade has rolled in for Llama San, chef Erik Ramirez’s restaurant rooted in the Japanese and Peruvian flavors of Nikkei cuisine. Times critic Pete Wells found that the Greenwich Village restaurant exceeds both Ramirez’s Llama Inn and Llamita — delivering interesting dishes that sometimes “seem to come from an imaginary Peruvian-Japanese world that Mr. Ramirez dreamed up.”

Wells dug the duck-topped nigiri, the mackerel, and the raw dishes. On the latter:

There can’t be many cevicherias in Lima where the tart and spicy marinade for raw scallops and soft hunks of avocado is made from cherimoya purée. Ripe cherimoya, also known as custard apple, has the miraculous ability to taste like bananas, pears, pineapples and about six other, equally delicious fruits at the same time.

And you could probably walk the entire Peruvian coastline without finding a hamachi tiradito whose leche de tigre — the sauce that is essential in tiraditos as well as ceviches — is a rich, spicy coconut milk soured with a squeeze of lime. If you added lemongrass and lime leaf at this point you’d have the beginnings of a number of Thai soups, but that’s not where this is going. Llama San scatters a few puffs of matcha foam over the plate, between curls of fresh coconut. If you didn’t already know that green tea, chiles, coconut and raw fish are quietly thrilling together, you do now.

The only downsides for Wells were “less memorable desserts” and service that’s “a little shaky.” Still, the creative savory menu wins Llama San three stars.

Earlier this month, Eater critic Ryan Sutton also gave Llama San three stars.

Llama San

359 6th Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10014 (646) 490-4422 Visit Website

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