Los Angeles-based chef Ricardo Zarate officially announced his quick arrival at the Grand Canal Shoppes in March, taking over the former Table 10 space vacated by Emeril Lagasse on New Year’s Eve. He promises a Peruvian Nikkei dining experience at Once, pronounced on-seh, which means “eleven” in Spanish and symbolizes Zarate’s spot in his line of 13 siblings. The restaurant comes after the chef launched Rosaliné, which he named for his mother, in West Hollywood last year.
Here’s a look at 11 things diners should know about Once and Ricardo Zarate.
- The menu focuses on dishes that blend flavors from Peru and Japan. All take their inspiration from Zarate’s childhood.
- The tiny menu features 11 à la carte shared plates that will rotate weekly since they rely on seasonal ingredients.
- So far, the opening menu promises big eye tuna sashimi ceviche with black truffle and kizami tigers milk; arroz chaufa, a Peruvian fried rice with snow crab, yuzu aioli, and crispy calamari; oxtail bibimbap with black mint stew, tacu tacu rice, fried egg, and plantains; and nasu panka miso with braised eggplant, blue cheese, and kiwicha.
- Other dishes include a quinoa-crusted salmon tiradito; blue prawn tartare; smoked Japanese eggplant ceviche; halibut tiradito; shrimp, scallops, and squid ceviche; Peruvian olives; a papa rellena with stuffed potato and shimenji garbanzo stew; chicharron karaage; sauteed lobster with orecchiette and aji ginger; baked diver scallops with parmesan sauce and confit shiitake; steak filet with wasabi pickled quinoa puree and sea urchin butter; a lamb chop with panka gochujang; pork ribs with Peruvian barbecue sauce; a quinoa salad with beets, burrata, and blood oranges; fromage blanc dumplings with mushrooms; and braised fennel with spinach, goat cheese, and spicy sesame dressing.
5. Zarate keeps up the numbers game on the drinks menu with 11 cocktails, including a gin and tonic made with a “slushee” machine.
6. Zarate designed the restaurant to mimic Peru with a rustic interior that includes floor-to-ceiling living plant walls, Edison lighting, and seating for 160.
7. A patio features five large communal tables surrounded by plants.
8. The only hint of Vegas? A neon green sign welcoming diners.
9. Diners may not be familiar with Zarate, but the Lima-born chef earned Food & Wine’s “Best New Chef” in 2011 and four James Beard nominations.
10. Zarate workshopped the idea during a pop-up in Santa Monica, California, in 2015.
11. Zarate rapidly gained famed earlier this decade launching Mo-Chica, Picca, Paiche, and Blue Tavern in remarkably quick succession, before choosing to walk away from all his ventures, to “let it all go and start from scratch again.”