Peru in Manhattan: Richard Sandoval Opens Raymi

Richard Sandoval is on the move. He has restaurants across the country and around the world, including Zengo, La Biblioteca, and Four at Yotel in New York. Now, the Mexican restaurateur is trying his hand at Peruvian cuisine with the opening of Raymi in Manhattan’s Flatiron district. This comes hot on the heels of his launch of the 10-year-old Pampano’s cocktail lounge, the Botaneria, and the addition of Tequileria Maya in Midtown, an expansion of his newly-renovated Maya restaurant, which he opened 15 years ago. We caught up Sandoval to get the scoop on the renovation, the new addition, and more.    

“Dining styles and menu preferences are changing,” Sandoval says of Maya’s new look and menu. “Maya has been a dining destination on the Upper East Side for delicious Mexican food, but throughout the years, the restaurant became outdated and the food and décor needed a refresh.”
 
Obviously, Sandoval has been doing something right, given his growing empire of more than two dozen restaurants. While all his other venues lean toward Mexican-with-a-twist (Zengo has an Asian bent) Raymi is his first that deals with Peruvian food. Sandoval got the idea after meeting chef Jaime Pesaque, formally of Mayta in Lima, who brought up the idea of opening a restaurant like this in New York.
 
“I saw how he brought Peruvian cuisine to life and how passionate he was about the culture and flavors, like how I am about Mexico,” says Sandoval. “Raymi fits into the group because Jaime and I share the same love for life and for food.”  
 
While Raymi is Sandoval’s first Peruvian restaurant, this cuisine has slowly been growing in the city with Gaston Acurio’s international transplant La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, Coco Roco in Brooklyn, and the Pio Pio chain across the city. If everything goes well with the launch, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Raymi expand to other cities soon.

New York Openings: Jungsik, Romera, La Mar Cebicheria Peruana

Jungsik (Tribeca) – Modern Korean five-course tasting menu. ● Romera (Chelsea) – Neurogastronomy in eleven courses from physician slash chef Dr. Miguel Sánchez Romera. ● La Mar Cebicheria Peruana (Flatiron) – Bounty of “la mar” via Lima has ceviche going haute.

San Francisco: To 10 Spots to Nurse a Killer Hangover

Mission Beach Café (Mission) – A favorite among hip neighborhood lushes for post-booze-fest brunches. Pretty young things, some still clad in their PJs, searching for comfort in decadent biscuits and gravy, Prather Ranch beef brisket hash, and of course pomegranate grapefruit Mimosas. ● Home (The Castro) – Bloody Mary preferences say a lot about a person. Do you take yours spicy or mild? With celery or olives?? Home’s Build Your Own Bloody Mary bar, which includes all of the standard accoutrement plus wasabi and a whole bevy of hot sauces, allows you to express your individuality while downing oversized omelets and crunchy cornflake French toast. ● Zazie (Cole Valley) – To compensate for the indelicacies of last night’s festivities, atmosphere of subtle French refinement can help you regain your sense of dignity. Shade your sensitive eyes under an umbrella in this small Cole Valley bistro’s back garden and sip on a cranberry or mango juice mimosa, forgetting last night ever happened.

Zeitgeist (Mission) – Maybe seeking your hair of the dog at a dive bar smacks of a self-perpetuating cycle. But this San Francisco institution, with its huge beergarten, wouldn’t open at 9am if it didn’t know its services were needed. Serving up some of the best Bloodies in town — housemade with a garnish of pickled beans and olives — Zeitgeist also has an outdoor grill with burgers and tasty spuds. Plus, if you sit around long enough, the Tamale Lady, is bound to stop by, selling her piping hot corn cakes stuffed with love. ● Ti Couz (Mission) – San Francisco is crepe crazy, but Ti Couz differentiates itself with a huge menu of varieties both savory and sweet. And what’s better for a hangover than sausage and cheese rolled up in a giant pancake? Oh, maybe a Bloody Mary, here served here with a skewer of shrimp for dunking into the perfectly spiced drink. ● La Mar Cebicheria Peruana (Fisherman’s Wharf) – Pisco, a kind of Peruvian brandy, is the poison of choice at La Mar, where you can get all of your morning-after needs taken care of in one of the cebiche palace’s signature cocktails. Require some vitamin C? Try the Cholopolitan, which in addition to the favorite Peruvian elixir, features cranberry, lime, and passion fruit juices. A caffeine jolt? The Earl Grey-infused pisco in the Flor might fit the bill. They even have a drink for the few among us who need a little octopus to suck us out of our hangover stupors — the Bloody Lorcho combines pisco and a housemade Bloody Mary mix with a serving of the eight-armed beasts. ● B Star Bar (Richmond District) – From the meatball jook (comforting Chinese rice porridge) to soft-shelled crab po boy to strawberry Nutella French toast, the brunch menu offers hangover-worthy options from all corners of the globe. This younger sibling of the ever-popular Burma Superstar also goes fusion with its drink list, helping you come back strong with options like a lychee martini, lemon ginger mimosa, or mango mojito. ● La Taqueria (Mission) – When your body is in need of an alcohol-absorbing food bomb, nothing delivers as quick and satisfying a jolt as a big chewy tortilla encircling cheese, beans, and meat. Skip the fussy knock-offs and head to La Taqueria for the real thing. For those in need of a liquid cure, they also have all of your favorite cervezas for cheap. ● Bacar (SoMa) Airily gorgeous open space to prevent headache-induced claustrophobia. Menu includes pork belly hash, fried jalapeno sandwich, and coconut rice pudding. And most importantly three kinds of bottomless cocktails, including the Wake-Up Mary!, which allows you to skip that irksome but necessary cup of coffee in favor of a caffeine-infused Bloody Mary. ● Farmer Brown (Tenderloin) This soul-food joint touts an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, spicy, fresh Bloody Marys from the mixologists behind some of the yummiest cocktails in the city, and live jazz to groove to once you’re feeling like yourself again.