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Restaurants & Bars

Fresca West Portal

nja | Mar 28, 2004 01:08 PM

I like the Fillmore location of this restaurant, though I'd still give it an overall rank just behind Limón and Alma. I tried the West Portal location for the first time last night and found it far inferior to the Fillmore branch.

The Good:
Cusqueña Dark - Wow. By far the best Latin American beer I have ever had; this Peruvian beer blows away every Mexican import. Dark, with slightly sweet, chocolately, coffee aromas. It reminds me of--though is not quite as good as--the Dueschutes Black Butte Porter that I have been drinking lately. The Cusqueña Light, a light lager, isn't as impressive.

Causa Limeña - Tangy potatoes with canned tuna fish, avocado, aioli, and hard boiled potatoes. Topped with those addictive pickled red onions that are ubiquitous in Peruvian food. The best dish we had.

Lomo Saltado - Very good, though the taste was not quite as integrated and exquisite as the version at Limón; I think the problem was too much tomato flavor and acid. But the meat was exceptionally tender, whereas Limón's was tough. Fries were a little underdone and dense though.

The Not Good:
Halibut Ceviche - came with somewhat raw, mushy, odd flavored fish. Picked at but couldn't eat.

Parihuela - Clams, mussels, and calamari were overcooked and tough. Scallops were cooked right but tasted fishy. Fish was the best part but there was little of it. Sauce was very thick and a bit buttery.

Other Thoughts:
The entree portions here are HUGE. I could have done without the appetizer and still have had trouble finishing the lomo saltado. The best deal here, assuming the quality is on par with the same dish in the Fillmore location, is the roasted chicken. A half chicken, giant pile of fries, and side salad for $9.95.

Service is a bit slow (only one waitress handling the whole place), but fine if you're not in a hurry.

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