the other night we were wandering around west portal, a little hungry, it must have been nearing half past seven when we happened upon this little storefront that looked interesting. they were busy with only 2 tables open, a good sign, so in we headed.
it was bright and clean inside, small enough that two waiters and a busboy could easily work the room. it sat probably about 50-60, including the four bar stools in the back of the house.
we started off with two appetizers, one hot the other cold. the cold app was called "papa a la huancaina", thirds of large yukon gold potatoes smothered in a fine sauce of aji amarillo, roasted garlic and crumbled goat cheese with 1/2 a boiled egg nestled between the potatoes.
our other app was the fresquitos-unbelieveably delicious. it's described in the menu as crispy won-ton wrappers filled with langoustines, capers, jack cheese and fresh herbs. we tried not to fight over the last morsels! this came with a mild pimento remoulade to dip into.
for entrees we had a bowl of picante de mariscos and the seco de cordero.
the picante de mariscos was a bowl of seafood stew served brimming with mussels and clams, snapper, calamari and shrimp in a spicy aji amarillo sauce with a touch of cream. just lovely. all the seafood was cooked to perfection, none was overdone, a feat in itself.
the seco de cordero was a delightfully different presentation of a very simple lamb stew. the plate was oval with large pieces of seared then braised lamb and jus at the right, deliciously spiced refried beans at the top, a large, 1 1/2" cylinder of white rice at the left corner with barely marinated (citrus) red onions and thinly sliced perfectly ripe tomatoes between the rice and the lamb.
we happily cleaned our plates and in doing so left no room for any of the three desserts they offered. after hearing about gordon's flan on saturday i was hardly game to try one out!
our bill, including 2 bev's, and tax came to $47. app's were $6.75 and $5.95, entrees $13,.95 and $10.95.
as steve said so aptly as we were leaving, "that was a great restaurant, i would definitely go there again!"
24 W. Portal Ave
San Francisco, CA 94127