This is the review I did for the online magazine writing class I'm currently taking...comments welcome!
Fresca is a well lit and intimate (if slightly cramped) space tucked nicely into a stylish block of Fillmore Street. This outpost is actually one of three in a local chain specializing in the tastes of Peru and the crowd on the Wednesday night we visited consisted of young couples out on mid-week dates and small groups of professionals having a casual, post work meal. We waited outside in the cool evening air for a bit before our table was ready and we were slightly put off by how hot the restaurant was before we were seated. Thankfully, the service and quality of the meal more than made up for the mild discomfort due to the heat.
Shortly before our meal, my dining companion and I were having libations at Harry's Bar and were told by some friends that we happened across there that we should definitely try one of the generous preparations of ceviche on the menu. And so we did, but after starting with the Camarones Chicama, coconut crusted prawns, served over a black bean salad with mango cream. The prawns were exceptionally large and the coconut flavor was rich, but not overpowering. The black beans proved to be a nice, if unconventional, accompaniment to the prawns and the half pitcher of the very smooth home made sangria worked very well with all the dishes we sampled.
Now, back to the ceviche. Our selection, the ceviche chino, seemed to have a vague Asian influence and contained ahi tuna, a yuzy-soy dressing, guacamole and wonton chips served in lettuce cups. Eating the ceviche was not unlike having a spicy tuna roll, albeit a crunchy one due to the presence of the wonton chips. The tuna was slightly spicy, the guacamole fresh and its lighter consistency provided a nice change of pace from the heavier prawns and our much heavier entrée.
The Churrasco "A Lo Pobre", grilled ribeye steak served on a bed of French fries, caramelized shitake mushrooms, plantains, pickled onions and topped with a fried egg proved to be a formidable main course. The ribeye, which we requested medium rare, was expertly prepared and had a great, grilled flavor and the egg was nice and runny. The other parts of the dish seemed to get lost in the shuffle a bit, blending together in a mush on the plate.
Dessert was a mini-chocolate cake with a mango sorbet. It was a nice cap to what was, on the whole, a very tasty introduction to Peruvian cuisine.
2114 Fillmore Street
San Francisco, CA