the spot: Llama Kid 4620 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702
the eats: Ceviches, cocktails, Anticuchos(skewers)
the bucks: $$$ plan on $75-$100 a person with drinks
the full nelson: Pricey Peruvian food with a chef’s kiss
I love Llama Kid but I also love Peruvian food. My first forays into the cuisine were at neighborhood saltado joints in LA, namely Mario’s Peruvian in Hollywood. Back in the day a Mariscos saltado; Peru’s take on fried rice spiked with shrimp, octopus and calamari along with french fries(potatoes are big in Peru) ran me like $12. Now it’s up to $17 and change.
Signs of the times point to everything becoming more expensive. Especially if you upgrade from neighborhood saltado joint to a date night worthy Peruvian restaurant with fine dining elements. The saltado at Llama Kid runs $20-$27. And while I didn’t try their version, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say they are gonna level it up like they do their ceviche:
I’ve lived in Austin for almost seven years and I’m perplexed why there isn’t a ceviche bar on every corner. It just turned June and we have hit triple digits multiple times. Llama Kid’s ceviche ain’t priced for visits as often as the mercury climbs past 99 degrees but make no mistake, you’re getting the premium fish here.
The Ahi Tuna in the Nikkei was meaty and bursting with flavor, all signs of quality tuna being used. Chef Diego Ysrael Sanchez adds thin strips of Nori(seaweed paper) and sesame seed to up the umami. The move here is to get multiple ceviches and keep your spoon dipping.
Every ceviche on the menu uses leche de tigre, the signature of Peruvian ceviche. A mix of citrus juice, Aji(Peru’s national pepper) along with habanero create a powerful brew. The Mixto ceviche(pictured above) really takes to the heat thanks to a mix of fried calamari along with the fluke, octopus and shrimp. Take note of the corn and sweet potato too, both Peruvian staples.
I suppose I should just call them skewers. These tasty street food morsels were a necessary follow up to the ceviche because I’ve seen people do that raw food diet and everyone caves eventually. We weren’t trying to crush the whole menu so these seemed like enough. I could have eaten 12. Shrimp and chicken featured here and I would definitely try the chicken in entree form. These went well with the Rosé pictured to the right.
They really do. Great cocktail program here. This where you can do some damage on your bill. Kinda worth it too. I supposed I’d love to come back to Llama Kid and eat through the menu with a group. But I also liked how we did this: a light dinner, a couple drinks and what could be a great pregame before a show.
Nestled in East Austin, Llama Kid is a prime time beast for that kind of night or a proper dinner. There just isn’t enough Peruvian joints around, definitely not enough ceviche so I welcome this kid to the game of dining in Austin. Mark this in your Yelp bookmarks future Llama kids.