Raymi Restaurant, located at 43 West 24th Street in Manhattan, was my latest stop after an exhaustive week of showing listings and negotiating contracts. http://rayminyc.com/
I especially wanted to experience the largest and most complete Pisco Bar in Manhattan, after hearing about the many tangy Pisco infusions they are known for.
The first thing I look for is outdoor dining space, (which is not as intimate but lovely for casual conversation while enjoying a fabulous meal – it is so NYC). Raymi's outdoor space was very inviting and colorful, expansive and welcoming.
After checking in my jacket and hat at the door, I walked into a tasteful, colorfully decorated dining room and festively lit pisco bar area, filled with splashes of red and orange. As I sat down, I carefully took in the vibrant colors and richness of the wood tones throughout the restaurant.
After promptly being seated with my guest, Eugenio Jimenez, we immediately felt welcomed with very attentive, warm and swift service. We found the entire staff to be extremely knowledgeable about both food and drink menus, which we found most impressive.
We started out with a heaping pitcher of fresh, sparkling water. I also had a salad of fresh market greens, which I found to be a flavor explosion of onion, peruvian spices, and leafy greens of deep purple hues.
We also sampled Anticucho, (Steak), Corvina, (Ceviche), Papa A La Huan Caina (Potatoes in cheese sauce), and fried, sweet plantains.
Both Eugenio and I loved the Anticucho – bursting with tenderness and flavor, perfectly seasoned and delicious. All meats at Raymi are put through an extensive marinade and cooking process which makes them stand out above many restaurants in New York City. Eugenio noted his Ceviche was “ the best he ever had ”, as the seasonings were perfect, and the fish was just as fresh tasting. (As a Dominican, he has eaten lots of fish).
The Papa A La Huan Caina was just incredible - the potatoes were deliciously flavored and the cheese sauce and mushrooms completed the dish while complementing the overall flavor. Remembering I went to Cotija Latin Flavors in Asbury Park, NJ to try fried, sweet plantains for the first time and loved them – I decided to try them at Raymi – not to be disappointed, they melted in my mouth with the same sweetened goodness I had at Cotija ! Fresh and delicious...
During our extensive meal, we had a hard time deciding which Piscos to try, since there are 27 Pisco infused options to choose from. Eugenio had the traditional Pisco Sour, and I had a Pisco Sour with Strawberry infusion followed by a Pisco Sour infused with Coconut. Shall we say “Frothy, Refreshing, packed with a fruity blend of Sweet and Sour Flavors” ?? YES, hands down !
The Chicharron (fried pork bellies with sweet potatoes and choclo bread), was packed with rich, smoky flavors – the pork broke up like no other pork I ever tasted, due to the extensive curing and cooking processes. It was most flavorful – tender – crispy outside – delicious -
My Pollo A La Brasa was unforgettable – this chicken also goes through a two day seven step marinating and cooking process. It passed my usual fork test – so very tender – the fork diced it with ease and the skin was a dish all by itself, exhibiting the crispy and smoky flavors I desire when having this type of dish. My plate was cleaned off in no time flat.
The accompaniment of jasmine rice was packed full of heat and tangy flavors, complemented with aji verde sauce, red and green peppers, corn and various spices. The Yucca was deep fried to perfection and was most pleasing to the pallet. It truly tasted like fresh potato chips.
Our meal was completed with a very neatly stacked set of Peruvian Crispy Doughnuts, packed with the syrupy goodness of chancaca honey.
We left Raymi feeling absolutely satisfied, as I was eagerly plotting my next visit to try more of the extensive Pisco flavors on the menu...
Won't you come dine with me at Raymi ???
- Robert Skinner