Picca | 99 Essential Restaurants 2015

Picca

photo by Anne Fishbein

You might be wondering what’s going on at Picca, now that chef Ricardo Zarate is no longer involved in the restaurant. The truth is that while changes might be coming in the future, right now the kitchen is still cooking the menu built by Zarate, and cooking it as beautifully as ever. Which means this is the last place in town to get Zarate’s particular style of Peruvian food, here elevated and made for pairing with Julian Cox’s exuberant cocktails (the names of which are a little hard to swallow — Benedict Cucumberbatch, anyone? — but the drinks themselves are masterful). The food choices are completely overwhelming, with sections dedicated to ceviche, tiradito (raw fish with various sauces), things on skewers, meats, salads and more, but you could close your eyes and throw darts at this menu and come out a winner. Fish come with bright fruit and citrus flavors, meats are perked up with sauces made from rocoto and huancaina, and almost everything is small and alluring enough to leave you wanting just one more bite. The room is as crowded and brimming with energy as ever. Picca is still quite the party, even without its best known host.— Besha Rodell