Picca Peruvian Cantina: New Year's Eve

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Chef Ricardo Zarate is not a man lacking in praise right now. Picca in Los Angeles is appearing on everyone's (literally) list of top restauarant openings in 2011. There are so many glowing reviews for it, that it's almost redundant for me to add my 2 cents. Almost...

I enjoy my food, but am not well enough versed in the intricacies of it to even pretend to do a proper food review. However, I'm confident that I know a great meal and a damn good night out.

My wife and I decided last minute to do Chef Ricardo's multi-course NYE menu and hustled up to LA for the kfirst seating. I have heard and read all the hype on Picca - a dangerous thing for me as it makes me want to rebel against the masses. That grand rebellion lasted about 3 steps past the door before I chuckled to myself and knew it was going to rock. It just FEELS right as soon as you are in there. My buddies at Croft House (woop!) did some great reclaimed wood furniture, the kitchen is wide open and lively and the bar stacked to the ceiling with south American Liquors that I hardly recognized. The first thing I saw as we walked to our table was the Chef taste something in a pot, grin and slap his protege on the back - good sign.

 

 

Long Story short. We had a fantastic night out. We were welcomed like it was a dinner party, I was a little nervous as the courses started slow and delicate, but they accelerated in taste through to a beef stew that made me ignore literally everything but my fork for 4 minutes. I'm dreaming of it as I type...

We sat at the bar, where I established the guys were taught by the cocktail masters at Rivera in DT LA (same ownership). They were creative without being cliche'd and celebrated and all south american bar - cool touch. Finally - the bar staff were a riot on top of being knowledgable. At one point I'm pretty sure two of them sang a NKOTB song and knew the dance to it, but the denied this vehemently...

Picca - just accept the hype.