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Llama Inn

Restaurants, Peruvian Williamsburg
3 out of 5 stars
 (Filip Wolak)
Filip WolakLlama Inn
 (Cayla Zahoran)
Cayla ZahoranBeef tenderloin stir-fry at Llama Inn
 (Cayla Zahoran)
Cayla ZahoranAnticucho at Llama Inn
 (Cayla Zahoran)
Cayla ZahoranGoat neck at Llama Inn
 (Filip Wolak)
Filip Wolak

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Friendly warning! We're working hard to be accurate. But these are unusual times, so please check that venues remain open.

Any Lima lover could tell you that there’s more to Peruvian food than citrusy ceviche and crisp-skinned rotisserie chicken, though both are dutifully on offer at Llama Inn, a lively terrarium of a restaurant disjointedly set beneath the BQE. Its chef is first-generation Peruvian-American Erik Ramirez who, following a sous stint at Eleven Madison Park, parlayed that heritage into an executive-chef post at high-end ceviche spot, Raymi.

But a graduate course on Peru’s vast cuisine—a dizzying blend of Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Andean influences—this isn’t. Rather, this is New Peruvian 101: The pisco punch ($13) is punnily named after singer Lana Del Rey, and the venerable lomo saltado is listed on the menu as the layman-simplified “beef tenderloin stir fry” ($48).

For the latter—a shareable, soy-sauced sauté of beef, tomato and red onion crowned with fatty french fries—Ramirez swaps customary rice for sheer scallion pancakes to wrap taco-style around fixings that include pickled chilies and sliced avocado. It’s a clear crowd-pleaser, like a Peruvian poutine, but the veal-jus-enriched gravy pulls down the pluck of the peppers and the lightness of the crêpes.

Aside from that large-format beef and a whole bird ($40), the bulk of the menu is dominated by snacks and small plates. In a take on tiradito, sashimi-thin slips of red snapper are set in a vibrantly acidic pool of yuzu, ginger and persimmon that’s good enough to drink ($17), but the subpar quality of the fish isn’t worthy of a sauce of that caliber. And though the beef heart ($4) proves to be a spicy, succulent exception, a section of anticucho skewers are marred by aggressively adobo-rubbed shrimp ($4) and disappointingly dry pork belly ($5).

It seems the case for both diners and chefs—when it comes to Peruvian, there’s still plenty to learn.

By: Christina Izzo



Address: 50 Withers St
Cross street: between Lorimer St and Union Ave
Transport: L to Lorimer St (Metropolitan Ave); G to Metropolitan Ave
Price: Average main course: $16.
Opening hours: Mon-Thu, Sun 5-11pm; Fri, Sat 5pm-midnight
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