Panchitas #3 report
- recovering chef Dec 23, 2001 12:06 AM
Just returned from a second meal at Panchitas #3 (22nd and Capp in The Mission). Reason for the second meal was that after the first meal I felt like I HAD to confirm the experience as it was great (well beyond any expectations).
First meal I had Pupusa (Pollo) and Sopa de Camarones. The Pupusa was really good, better than any I've had lately but the soup was the star. Sweet prawns, garlic and poached eggs in a fantastic fish broth. Mmmmm...
Anyway, this time I went with another person so I was able to taste a few more dishes. We started off with Casamiento with fried Plantains. It was very very good, an excellent mix of earthy-funkiness offset by the crema fresca. Oh... their agua frescas are INCREDIBLE. The orchata was the best I've ever tasted. Anyway, we had excellent crab enchiladas (real crab, in a super smoky garlicy sauce) and a dish that i've lost the name of (blush) which was strips of steak sauteed with onions, peppers, tomato and garlic potatoes in an AMAZING sauce.
One important note - there are three restaurants named Panchitas in the Mission. The other two are NOT like this one. Make sure you go to this one.
Thanks for the report, RC! I've had a really disappointing experience at one of the other Panchita's, but it sounds like this one is worth a visit! I'm scratching my head trying to see if i can figure out what your forgotten-name dish was, but perhaps I'll just have to check it out for myself.
re: recovering chef
It is odd, and it's an example of death-wish business planning, or just bad judgement.
This is a totally different restaurant, run by someone with aspirations of gourmet cooking, which was purchased from the owner of the other ones.
For some unknown reason, he decided not to change the name.
As a result, it has the aspect of being just a more expensive yuppie version of the other ones, and therefore isn't interesting.
But after this review I may give it a try.
I just returned from a great, relatively inexpensive meal at Panchita's #3. Thanks for the rec. I lived in the neighborhod for years and never gave it much of a look. Just another Mex/Sal place with pupusas and bistec. (Could be worse to live near such fare, right?) But I moved away and now that I'm back I see the restaurant is all spruced up, kind of a spare elegance to the place with linen napkins, arty framed fotos on the wall, fresh flowers, and big windows.
Anyway, I was impressed with the food. This was only our first visit but everything was good. The place falls into the nuevo Latino genre a la Alma or La Luna but it sticks pretty true to its roots without getting gimmicky.
Speaking of roots, we ordered the tasty sounding fried yucca with chicharron but they were out. The chile rojo pupusa we had was wonderful. Purees of beets and chiles and a cilantro pesto striped the four wedges of masa dough and cheese. A mound of vinegary curtido heaped in the middle of the plate provided the traditional foil to the rich snack.
The crab enchilada was full of sweet crab and lightly napped in a great anchiote sauce. Chicken mole was excellent. I want to try one of the many shrimp dishes next time like one with green mole or chile sauce and wild mushrooms. Check it out.