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Destino Report

nja | Jun 8, 200408:08 PM

A group of 5 hounds held an impromptu wine tasting and dinner at Destino last night. We shared the following. I didn't take notes so may be forgetting some dishes and details:

[Small Plates]

BREAD -- slightly sweet rolls with some kind of minty dipping sauce (free).
AREPAS -- with Fontina Cheese, Grilled Corn and Tomato Salsa
EMPANADAS -- with Pork Loin Picadillo
AHI TUNA CEVICHE -- Ahi Tuna, Avocado, Red Onion served in a martini glass (cevichetini?)
CEVICHE A LA PERUANA -- Local Halibut, Red Onion, Aji Amarillo, Canchas
CHILE RELLENO -- Poblano Pepper Filled with Ground Sirloin, Sharp Cheddar, Roasted Chipotle Salsa, Citrus Crème Fraiche
ANTICUCHOS -- Peruvian Marinated Skewers of Beef Heart
QUINOA SALAD -- forget the exact name of this, but some kind of black quinoa with peppers and enoki mushrooms.
PASTEL DE CHOCLO -- Chilean national dish of ground meat, boiled eggs, olives, corn, onions, and much more all baked in a cazuela.
PATO -- Rare duck breast with blackened crust served over mashed sweet plantains.

[Large Plates]

LOMO SALTADO -- Steak Sauteed with Roma Tomatoes, Red Onions and French Fries, White Rice


ALFAJORES -- 12 small cookies with cajeta filling.
PUMPKIN DONUTS -- with caramel sauce

Total cost for 5 persons, including tax, tip, and $30 in corkage fees, was $200.

Overall, the atmosphere, loudness, menu options (though only 2 ceviches instead of 10+), and just overall feel of the place reminded me very much of Fresca Fillmore. While the prices listed on the menu seemed high, and although I could have had another dish or so to be completely full, in the end I think it's a pretty decent value.

My favorite dish by far was the pastel de choclo...I even urged the group to order another and wasn't shy about finishing the last spoonful that inevitably remains behind when eating family style. "Chilean Shephard's Pie," I called it, though it differs from the English version in that this has flavor, and lots of it. Very homey, grubby dish; I could sit down and eat a vat of it.

I also thought the arepas, empanadas, relleno, ceviche a la peruana, and pato were very good and would order them again. The ahi ceviche was okay but wasn't worth the $13 or so it costs. I think this place does better with other dishes than ceviches, which I'd leave to Limón and Fresca. The quinoa salad was mostly flavorless, as quinoa usually is, and in fact I was mercilessly ridiculed for having ordered it (g). The anticuchos had decent flavor but were a little too tough, even for heart meat, and... where was the rocoto salsa??

The lomo saltado I didn't like as much as Limón and Fresca. The fries weren't mixed in with the other ingredients, the portion was rather small (not much bigger than a small plate, actually) and was too sour.

The desserts were a bit of a letdown. The alfajores had good, fresh, crumbly cookies but not enough filling. The pumpkin donuts, which looked like the circular fried and breaded shrimp from old Chinese American restaurants, were very tough. The tres leches was probably my favorite for having fairly tender cake and a good topping of whipped cream, but it just didn't have the layers of flavor of a good tres leches.


Other opinions?

Destino Restaurant
1815 Market Street
Between Guerrero and Valencia
San Francisco, CA 94103



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