Saturday, December 27, 2014

Cobaya Diego Oka @ La Mar 12/17/14

Cobaya experiment number 46 was conducted by chef Diego Oka. Diego is the talented executive chef at the Mandarin Oriental's La Mar by Gastón Acurio. Gastón is Peru's most famous chef and his first restaurant Astrid & Gastón is currently ranked 18th by The World's 50 Best Restaurants. He currently owns 44 restaurants in 12 countries with 3 in the United States. But this night wasn't about Gastón Acurio. It was all about his star Protégé, Diego Oka.

Diego was born and raised in Lima, Peru and has a Japanese-Peruvian background. While attending college, Diego interned at Astrid & Gastón. At 21, Gastón hired him as head chef at another restaurant in Peru. Diego went on to become the opening executive chef at La Mar's in Lima, Bogota and San Francisco. It should be noted that Diego was not involved in the now closed La Mar in NYC.

Diego moved to Miami this year to open the latest La Mar which hosted twenty guinea pigs.

Diego's seven course menu showcased his Peruvian and Japanese background along with his experience with seafood. His dishes combined interesting flavors and textures that were paired with some of my favorite foods. Uni, scallops, salmon roe, lobster, sweetbreads, jumbo shrimp and soft shell crabs all played a role.

Big thanks to Diego for stepping into the Cobaya Kitchen again after participating in the fun Cobayapalooza. Thanks to the staff at La Mar and to all the guinea pigs for your continued interest and support.

It was a beautiful night and a perfect setting overlooking the Biscayne Bay and Miami skyline.

Uni and scallop tiradito with creamy leche de tigre with rococo and topped with salmon roe.

Crispy sweet potato, grilled tuna, purple potato causa and pastel, chichi morada reduction and green mango chalaca.

Smoked sweetbreads, smoked potato puree, egg and chimichurri. This was probably my favorite dish of the night.  The execution was perfect and the pairing worked well.

Quinoa achupada with jumbo shrimp, ocopa sauce, fava bean air and huacatay crisps.

Cebiche a la piedra with lobster and yucca.  I enjoyed the hot cebiche paired with a nice piece of lobster.

An eight pound whole fish nikei w soft shell crabs, bok choy and a Peruvian-Japanese spicy sauce. This was an impressive sight and a seafood delight.

BBQ pork belly fried rice prepared table side.

Peruvian Chocolate Mousse, quinoa and lucuma.  It should be noted that it was presented in a pyramid. Yes a pyramid of desserts. 

500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami, FL 33131

(305) 913-8358

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