Recently Opened Restaurants
by Julie Besonen, 01/20/2016
Photo: Douglas Lyle Thompson
50 Withers St., 718-387-3434, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Llama Inn bears an unlikely name and rests in an improbable location: under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in Williamsburg. Pass through the contemporary Peruvian restaurant's heavy hacienda-style doors to find a dark, artsy space that chef Erik Ramirez has brought brilliantly to life. Ramirez, who is of Peruvian heritage, toils in an open kitchen. He cut his chops at exemplary restaurants like Eleven Madison Park and here grills juicy chicken thighs skewered with fermented soybeans, spicy with squiggles of green chili sauce and crunchy with purple potato chips. That particular anticucho (street food) is eligible as one of the best dishes of 2015. Japanese and Chinese influences appear in a handful of dishes: his sushi-grade sea bream tiradito with persimmon, yuzu and ginger, say, and the beef tenderloin stir-fry with soy sauce and scallion pancakes. You may feel like you've been sent to the middle of nowhere as you make your way from the subway, but make no mistake: this is a destination.