If you happened to be on the fourth floor of L.A.’s Hollywood and Highland shopping-and-entertainment complex in February, you might have seen a restaurant with no sign and a chef greeting strangers and inviting them in to try some food.
Ricardo Zarate wanted feedback on his Peruvian barbecue-steak bowl with brown rice and quinoa, so he wasn’t even trying to sell anyone anything at this point. A couple of passersby did double takes because they recognized L.A.’s most prominent Peruvian chef and couldn’t believe he was giving away his food.
This marked the beginning of Mamacita, the new fast-casual restaurant that Zarate is running at Hollywood and Highland and hopes to open all over the city. Zarate, who was named a Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2011, is also still working to open his flagship Rosaliné restaurant. He expects that Rosaliné, located in the former Comme Ça space in West Hollywood, will debut by the summer.