I went to Fina Estampa last night, on the board's recommendation, and found the food only middling -- nothing that would compell me to return. Thus I suffered the sad doubt, so eloquently expressed by he who disliked DiFaro's, that I was not truly a chowhound. Maybe I'm only a foodie I thought, as I enviously passed an inviting gringo-spanish restaurant on 22nd/mission-valencia ("Esperento").
I started with the ceviche, which was fine, very tender squid, tiny little shrimps, some stray bits of fish, and plenty of marinated onions. Twas good, but not transcendent. Unfortunately, my friend had the potatoes with feta-cheese sauce, and couldn't force herself through more than one potato -- the sauce was the color of hollandaise and tasted mostly like egg yolk, but not in a good way. My boy had the shrimp-salad stuffed avocado, and the avocado was downright rotten (thoroughly brown beneath the massive mayonnaisey portion of shrimp salad. I am not exaggerating).
For entree I had the fish saltado, a nice hash of fried fish, french fries, fried tomatoes. It was tasty, but if anything it reminded me of English food! Everything was salty, warm and soggy. My friend had the beef version, which she felt equally okay about. And the boy had some fried chicken entree, which again was okay, but no better than what comes out of my frying pan.
THis was the mission-venue, so we they didn't offer the stuffed-squid that sounded so wonderful. And we weren't brave enough to try the beef hearts. But still, I didn't have any feelings about it which even remotely matched the undying praise I've read elsewhere on this board. And I can't get over the rotten avocado bit.
On the up side, before the meal we stopped in at Bruno's bar across the street for a drink, which looks old school, but has had a total face lift inside, and got very good cocktails in a swanky environmnet. See! that confirms my yuppistic tendencies ...