It looks like the Marina del Rey dining scene will get a much-needed shot in the arm in early 2013, thanks to chef Ricardo Zarate and his business partner, Stefan Bombet. The duo behind Picca and Mo-Chica are planning a new concept called Paiche [pronounced pie-chay ] set to open in the Waterside complex on Lincoln and Admiralty (which also houses Sugarfish and Mendocino Farms) within the first few months of next year.
The concept will be based around seafood, specifically the famed cevicherias of coastal Peru. Don't expect the usual beachside offerings, though — Zarate admits that in some preparations he'll be using oft-neglected fish parts, like heads and fins, while also incorporating classic Peruvian ingredients such as purple corn, aji amarillo, rocoto peppers and huacatay, also known as Peruvian black mint.
Most intriguing is Zarate's plan to offer the namesake paiche, a firm freshwater fish native to Amazonian riverbeds, which can grow up to 300 pounds in weight (it tastes simliar to black cod). Zarate also hinted that he's searching for a supplier of pacu, a type of Brazilian “piranha” fish rarely seen stateside.
For those unsure about eating fish that could bite back, more traditional preparations of ceviche, including lobster, crab, shrimp and sea bass, will on the menu as well (local and sustainable where available, of course).
Bombet explained that while Marina diners shouldn't expect white tablecloths, the price point will be simliar to Picca and the restaurant will exude a sense of seaside “elegance” for Peruvian cuisine fans. The design is being handled by the firm DesignARC, which is planning an outside-in, sliding glass door aesthetic with room for 162 diners inside and 42 more on an outside patio. Dinner, lunch and weekend brunch (leche de tigre for hangovers!) service are all in the works for the opening.
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