Restaurants & Bars 6

Plátanos

nja | May 24, 2004 01:35 PM

My survey of Nuevo Latino restaurants has slowed lately, but was reignited by my first visit to Plátanos on Friday night.

I'm linking Melanie's recent report, which contains excellent descriptions of most of the menu's dishes.

The only dish we had that she did not cover was the ceviche. Apart from the three fried plantains and the martini glass, this was a much more Mexican styled ceviche than the Peruvian or modern versions at Fresca, Limón, and Alma. Extremely fresh, tender, and sinew-less halibut came with mildly tart lime juice, tomatoes, onions, and a few chiles.

We also had the guacamole and panuchos. My opinion differs from Melanie's in that I think the semi-fruit of the ripe avocado was a great match with the semi-fruit of the plantains. Only thing the dish needed was a little more salt on the plantains. It's the Peruvian pickled red onions on the panuchos that makes them so addictive.

For entrees we shared two dishes. The Gambas en Mole Verde are especially delicious now since nopales are at their peak season. The Relleno was delicious when immediately eaten, after a few minutes on the table it came to room temperature and the texture and flavors declined dramatically. If you order this dish, and I think you should, be sure to attack it first and finish it before moving on to anything else.

All the starchy and somewhat sweet plantains throughout the meal eliminated the desire for desserts.

The wine list is dominated by South American and Spain bottles with a handful of Californian options. We shared two bottles of wine. The Montsarra Cava I found a little to appley and tart after drinking about the first half glass. I forget the name of the red wine, it was about $24, from Spain, and had a one word name that started with a P plus a 4 (e.g., "P------- 4"). It was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Mourvedre, and Grenache from grapes grown all over Spain. It was very fruit forward with prominent varietal characteristics (blackberry and cassis cab flavors, earthy notes from the mourvedre, and the strawberry and mouthfill of grenache; I'm not familiar enough with tempranillo to pick out its contributions). It was straightforward yet many-flavored wine that was pleasant for sipping and was a decent match with the relleno but not the other dishes.

Overall, I'd place this behind Fresca, Limón, and Alma in the SF Nuevo Latino rotation, but it is nevertheless a good restaurant.

-Nick

598 Guerrero Street @ 18th
San Francisco

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