Essencia in Hayes Valley
My husband and I had another regret tonight-- going to a place we haven't heard anything, but what the heck, we thought.
After seeing this fairly new place crowded several times, we tried it tonight pre-symphony time.
It's Peruvian and we tried chicken dish with wheat sauce pecans served with rice and a mushroom saltado dish with fried yucca. The yucca was good. Neither of us enjoyed the entrees.
We also ordered the ahi tuna sashimi appetizer served with avocado. The tuna was tough (I could not cut one piece in half with a fork!) and bland. Not good quality.
They serve their bread with an olive butter which was tasty.
2 entrees, 1 appetizer, 2 beers total -$60.
I had a similarly lackluster experience at Essenscia a few months ago. It is too bad as it has a nice atmosphere and the menu looks interesting.
We've had dinner at Essencia 3 times over the past few years, and each meal has been good to excellent. Our most recent meal last weekend included the house salad and the causa salad for starters. The causa salad was a delicious cold mashed potato salad with chunks of avocado and shrimp, drizzled with a delicious two-chile sauce, with some mustard-dressed greens on the side. It was a great combination of comfort and complexity. For entrees we had the chicken in pecan sauce and the seafood chupe (chowder/stew), and these were both very fine as well. We split a half bottle of Argentinian Malbec that went very nicely with everything.
Other favorites in past visits have been the arroz con mariscos and the pulpa salad. We had a fantastic ceviche on one visit and a good-but-not-great ceviche on a different visit.
So I can see there may be some consistency issues, but overall our experiences have been delightful. Essencia is definitely in our regular pre-symphony rotation.
we had one meal there that we enjoyed and decided to go back for dinner before the symphony. Took for ever to get a menu and when the food didn't arrive in nearly an hour we just got up and left! It wasn't worth missing the first half of the symphony program. Not surprised that it has closed.