I’m a sucker for Peruvian cuisine but I always tend to gravitate towards the same dishes. Okay, I’ll be honest – the same one dish: lomo saltado.
The sirloin strips stir-fried with soy sauce, vinegar, and spices and stir-fried with onions, tomatoes and French fries is one of my all-time favorite meals so it’s hard to branch out.
But I digress. When I met up with friends at Le Mar Cebicheria Peruana in San Francisco’s Embarcadero, I was determined to stick to the cebiche. Le Mar is, after all, a cebiche restaurant. (It’s also an international restaurant, with outposts throughout Latin America in Lima, Mexico City, Santiago, Sao Paolo, and Panama City.)
After we were seated, our waiter brought us Yukon, plantain, and sweet potato chips and an array of dipping sauces to nibble on while we perused the menu.
My favorite was were the sweet potato chips, and all three of the sauces were full of depth and spicy.
For my entree, I chose the cebiche mixto.
The cebiche mixto came with a little bit of everything: Mahi Mahi, calamari, octopus and habanero pepper in ají amarillo leche de tigre with cilantro, red onions, Peruvian corn, and yam. Whew. The ají amarillo sauce was delicious but I was let down by the cebiche.
The fish wasn’t as flavorful as I was expecting and the big chunks of yam seemed out of place. That being said, I’ve since heard rave reviews of Le Mar’s other cebiches so I’ll come better informed next time.
If it’s one thing Le Mar has down it’s presentation and ambiance. All of our dishes were gorgeously plated and the restaurant interior was modern and industrial without at all feeling cold. The service was friendly and unhurried during our visit, despite the restaurant being very busy.
Even though my entree wasn’t as incredible as I was hoping for it to be, I left Le Mar feeling satisfied. The restaurant was fun, the menu looked exciting, and it left me wanting to go back to discover more.