Our latest installment of Quick Bites brings us to Carmine Street for some Peruvian sandwiches.

THE VIBE
Almost three years ago chef Erik Ramirez and restaurateur Juan Correa opened Llama Inn, bringing upscale Peruvian street food and remixes of Lima classics to a cheery blue building by the elevated BQE in Williamsburg. Critical acclaim and love from the locals quickly followed, and today the place boasts a lively scene nearly every night.

Now Ramirez, Correra, and Llama Inn chef Tyler Henry have expanded their operation with Llamita, a counter-service spot on the West Village/Hudson Square border. Prices are lower than at the mothership, and the sandwich-heavy menu seems poised to appeal to the office workers and creative types toiling nearby, but thankfully "Los Boys" have not tempered their enthusiasm for bold flavors and ingredients.

Plants hanging high overhead the entrance add some coziness to the generic, somewhat awkwardly-shaped space, which is part of strange, mostly empty "strip mall" that wraps around Carmine and Varick Streets and looks like it should be the ground floor of a new luxury residential building, except that there's no building above. Llamita's brick exterior is, of course, painted blue. For dining in, there are about 15 stools available at an array of counters, and these are all comfortable enough for a quick meal, a pleasantly loud contemporary rap mix and overall warm hospitality keeping you company.

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(Scott Lynch / Gothamist)

THE BITES
Llamita has been billed as a sandwich (or sánguche) spot, and there are a half dozen options on the menu. I ate three during opening week, and all were wolfed down with glee: the funky Duck Sausage with potato, the soft Calamari with Peruvian red pepper, and the mild Pork Shoulder with sweet potato. The sauces do a lot of the work here (fiery, garlicky rocoto crema, or chimichurri, or aji amarillo, depending), and I did wish there was a bit more "stuff" inside each one, but still, these all satisfy as big-time flavor bombs.

Even better than the sandwiches though were the more entree-like selections under Peruvian Specialties. The Anticucho platter featured three skewers laden with meltingly tender beef heart, roasted medium rare and smothered in a chunky salsa. It's served with charred corn, a hunk of queso fresco, and some potatoes in green sauce. Chef Henry described it as "what you would eat with your grandmother on the sidewalk in Lima." The Pastel de Choclo was another big winner, a large square of sweet cornbread stuffed with spicy ground beef and covered with melted fontina.

Llamita's Pollo a la Brasa is also excellent, and available as a quarter, half, or whole. I forgot to order my usual dark meat, but the breast was beautifully cooked and juicy throughout, the skin seasoned with gusto. A side order is necessary here, and I can recommend the Arroz Chaufa, a cup of fried rice topped with chili peppers and caramelized plantain. And they've ferried over Llama Inn's famous Lime Pie for dessert, the tangy filling and buttery crust covered in meringue, then blow-torched to order.

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Lime Pie. (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)

THE VERDICT
Llamita isn't cheap by any stretch (you will easily spend $20 - $25 a person for either lunch or dinner), but the food is terrific and makes for a welcome option before seeing something at the newly renovated Film Forum. Area workers and locals should note that there's also an appealing-looking breakfast menu here, as well as a full slate of smoothies.

Llamita is located at 80 Carmine Street near Varick Street and is open on Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (646-590-2771; llamita.com)