1 Place

Expand Map

1 Place

Restaurants & Bars

El Ají | Peruvian in the Mission - San Francisco

Melanie Wong | Sep 24, 201602:47 PM    

El Ají Restaurant opened last fall from the owners of Cholo Soy.

Here's my late rundown on the Peruvian dinner that two of us enjoyed there in early November. I'm posting to check for updates.

First up, Ceviche Chalaco, basa fillets marinated in tangy lime juice and mildly spicy aji amarillo. And for more pow, some hotter rocoto chile sauce on the side. Wonderful mix of flavors but they couldn't make up for the earthy-tasting basa.

Causa de cangrejo stuffed a bountiful amount of sweet crabmeat inside a shell of potato puree, then napped generously with creamy aji amarillo sauce.

Ocopa, another cold appetizer, was all about the velvety green sauce coating slabs of potato and a hard-cooked egg. Creamy and scented with huacatay (black mint), garlic, aji amarillo and a faint back note of toasted nuts, the salsa ocopa tasted greener and not as rich than La Mar's version.

Arroz con mariscos was loaded with assorted shellfish, most of it overcooked for my taste. The rice was on the soft side, but deliciously flavored from the seafood. While I probably would not order this again, it just did not standout the way the other dishes did.

Seco de cordero, a beautifully braised lamb shank was our favorite of the night. Juicy meat and jelly-like cartilage was fall-off-the-bone tender bathed in a dusky and meaty gravy scented with coriander and cumin. Beautiful fluffy rice and creamy peruano beans alongside filled out the plate.

Crema volteado for dessert was a flan-like egg custard with a sugary top. Too many bubbles spoiled the texture.

Very reasonably priced including a bottle of Pellegrino and a maracuya (passionfruit) juice, we had a ton leftover to take home.

Our server seemed only vaguely interested in doing her job. She said she was new and turned out not to be familiar with the dishes nor how to run a credit card. Mostly she played with her phone. She was not comfortable in English so perhaps there was too much of a language barrier.

El Aji Restaurant
3015 Mission St. (at 26th Street)
San Francisco CA
(415) 658-7349.

Maria Carmen's positive review was published October 31, 2015 a few days before we ate there.

Anna Roth's later February 2016 article expressed heartbreak.

Anyone been more recently who can update us?

El Aji
Want to stay up to date with this post? Sign Up Now ›

Discussion Summary

More from Chowhound

6 Ways to Make Your Smoothies Taste Totally Amazing
How To

6 Ways to Make Your Smoothies Taste Totally Amazing

by Gretchen Lidicker | If you want make the best smoothie of all time, take these easy tips and tricks to heart. Too sweet...

Make Your Blender Clean Itself

Make Your Blender Clean Itself

by Chowhound Editors | Do you hate cleaning your blender because you have to take it apart and scrub around those sharp blades...

Lettuce Tell You, Grilled Romaine Is Fantastic
How To

Lettuce Tell You, Grilled Romaine Is Fantastic

by Julie Boor | If you haven't tried it yet, grilled romaine lettuce is surprisingly delicious—here's what you need...

Squash Your Beef: Smashburgers Are Juicy, Crisp Perfection (If You Make Them Right)
How To

Squash Your Beef: Smashburgers Are Juicy, Crisp Perfection (If You Make Them Right)

by David Klein | A grilled hamburger is always great, but you don't need to take it outside for perfect results. Learn...

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.