Ever since returning to the United States in 2012 and diving deeper into the culinary scene in this country, I am excited to see more Latin food offerings. The flavors of Latin America are going beyond the small neighborhood restaurants and making their way to fine dining. I’m introducing a new series called Sabores to talk about the taste makers in this revolution. While looking for Latino chefs in New York City, I discovered the Torres brothers who own The Latin Beet and Raymi NYC. I had a chance to speak to one of the partners, Roger Torres about their culinary concepts.
I met Roger at The Latin Beet, a Latin flavored fast casual concept. Tucked away on 24th street, right off the Flat Iron building, it’s a colorful slice of deliciousness in New York City. As the name implies The Latin Beet brings the flavors of Colombia and Peru in a unique and delicious way. Roger told me that initially the space was being unused as Raymi (their other restaurant) was not open for breakfast or lunch and they wanted to maximize the space. That’s how The Latin Beet was born.
The Latin Beet
I ordered a lox arepa and a pitaya smoothie and listened to Roger’s story. He and his brothers Felipe and Jaime were born in Colombia and have been in the United States for almost twenty years. Roger works on the business side of the restaurants while Felipe and Jaime are the executive chefs. I asked Roger why he became interested in doing a healthy Latin fast casual concept. He told me that he felt that there was a void for healthy Latin food on the go. I wholeheartedly agree.
Their arepas are made from organic corn sourced in the Carolinas. As you bite into the soft arepas, you take away a sweet corn taste. Their arepas are made with classic latin staples such as avocados but they also offer a nod to NYC: a lox arepa. If you go to The Latin Beet, make sure to order a Devocion coffee. I fell in love with this coffee brand in Cartagena. I am thrilled to see it was offered at The Latin Beet.
I was so intrigued by the story of the restaurants that I returned with the family to Raymi, an upscale Peruvian restaurant. I made my reservation early in the evening as we were dining with la piccola. We were happy to see that the staff was super attentive and that they had a high chair despite the more formal dining area.
We started our meal with a pisco sour. I love anything with passion fruit so I was very happy with my passion fruit pisco sour. We then indulged in the ceviche. The ceviche mixto is one of my favorites. It is done very well at Raymi: perfect amount of spice, the big choclos, and the fragrance of the citrus. Another highlight was the arroz con pato (rice with duck). The savory rice topped with succulent duck was delicious.
Raymi and The Latin Beet are two unique concepts coexisting under the same roof. I love that it brings the flavors of two culturally rich countries in Latin America: Colombia and Peru. Raymi celebrated its tenth anniversary recently. In a dynamic dining scene such as New York City, you know they are doing something right!
Raymi & The Latin Beet, 43 W 24th St, New York, NY 10010, Website