Welcome to Behind the Line, your all access pass to the top kitchens in the game. So take a trip to Peru through the gates of Williamsburg, let the anticuchos lead the way.
Chef Erik Ramirez
Chef Erik Ramirez is a first generation American, born and raised in Dutch Hill, New Jersey. His parents are from Lima, Llama Inn’s spiritual country of origin, a place where there is a strong tradition of home-cooked food. Though Ramirez’s motivation to cook comes from his family’s matriarchs, his professional cooking career began in Philadelphia at The London Grill. Now, after ten years in NYC, he’s cooked at places like Nuela, Raymi and Eleven Madison Park. At Llama Inn, Ramirez’s first gig as the headliner, he’s cooking the food he grew up eating. The truth? It’s in the ajis.
Llama Inn’s Anticuchos; from left to right, Pork Belly, Chicken Thigh, Octopus and Beef Heart.
On the menu there’s a section dedicated to anticuchos, a Peruvian street food, cooked as they do in Peru, fireside on the robataya. Ramirez’s international take on anticuchos is served in four different ways he describes as, “taking a trip around the world.”
On a typical night, you will find the anticuchos cooking on an open flame over the robataya, on the left. On this day, Chef Erik used the plancha to the right.
Each dish is a mix of Peruvian technique with original flavors and it all starts with the heart. Beef heart, that is, a Peruvian street meat staple. Marinated in aji panca (dried Peruvian chili), he then grills the hearts on an open flame until tender. Before serving, they’re topped with a rocoto salsa. Next up, a play on Chinese barbecue. Confit pork belly in char siu sauce is topped with pickled chilies and spicy mayo. For the third number, Yakitori meets anticuchos, fermented soybean marinated chicken thighs are topped with aji verde and house made crispy purple potato chips. The last dish on the journey is the octopus anticucho. Charred and served with 24-hr salt marinated cabbage that’s drained of excess liquid and mixed with aji amarillo mayo, condensed milk, lime juice and salt. It’s all topped with a sprinkling of crispy quinoa for a return to Peru.
After dinner, the rooftop is the spot. The greenery is legit and chef Erik especially loves his Huacatay, a Peruvian black mint, that he says “has a flavor of mint and oregano and used in a lot of our cooking.”
Lima Llama and taste it all for yourself. Grab a seat.