We had previously been to Llama Inn for an early Mother’s Day brunch, so when it came time to pick a restaurant for X’s birthday dinner, Llama San immediately came to mind. We’re both huge fans of Peruvian-Japanese food, with X being a particular fan of Peruvian cuisine. Reservations were a bit sparse a month in advance, but I managed to nab a table for the actual date.
The food at Llama San is a type of Japanese-influenced Peruvian cuisine known as Nikkei. It’s a truly unique experience, because each bite feels familiar, yet very new at the same time. Even when you’re served a staple Japanese dish like katsu or a classic Peruvian ceviche, the mixture of the two cuisines cause a dance of flavors in your mouth that you’ve never tasted before.
At first glance at the menu, we were extremely overwhelmed. There aren’t a lot of options, but they all sounded quite good. Our waitress recommended that we do the Three Course Prix Fixe, so we could try a bit of everything. Their menu consists of three ceviche options, five appetizers, and four larger “entrée” dishes. Since we were four people, we would essentially get to try almost all of the dishes, minus one appetizer. This sounded like a great idea, since it offered the most variety and would take the decision making out of our hands!
I’m not going to bore you with all the items that we ate, but I will point out the ones that we absolutely loved and would definitely recommend ordering if you’re planning a visit to Llama San.
My favorite ceviche was the Steelhead Trout and the Scallop. The scallop was fresh and super sweet. The Steelhead Trout tasted the most like a classic Peruvian ceviche, so we loved the flavors. My favorite appetizer was a tie between the Tofu and the Squid. The tofu had a lovely aji amarillo sauce that was just a bit spicy and packed so much flavor in. It paired so well with the otherwise mellow tofu. The squid was spicy and tender, perfectly cooked.
For the entrees, I loved almost all of them. The Iberico Pork Tonkatsu is worth the upcharge supplement. The katsu was crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. The side of udon verde was a light and airy contrast to the heavier katsu. The monkfish had a delightfully savory fish broth and I absolutely loved the pureed daikon. And lastly, the yakimeshi was jampacked with crab meat and delicious octopus.
All four of us left super full and could not possibly fit dessert. They do have an option to do a Four Course Prix Fixe that adds on a dessert, but we were just so full!
Service was attentive and everyone we interacted with was super nice and professional. If you’re a fan of Peruvian or Japanese cuisine, Llama San offers up a delightful marriage of the two.