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Chowdown at Inkas: report

Ruth Lafler Nov 10, 2009 11:23 PM

Nine local hounds met with Grayelf (and Mr. Elf) at Inkas for a blow-out dinner.

We shared:

Ceviche pescado (fish was sole, according to our waiter)
Ceviche mixto
Fried yucca
Fried plantains
Chicarrones de Pollo (fried chicken)
Picante Camarones (spicy shrimp "stew")
Chaufa Camarones (shrimp fried rice)
Pescado Sudado (steamed fillet of fish in broth)
Pollo a la Brasa (rotisserie chicken)
Aji de Gallina (shredded chicken in creamy chile sauce)
Combinado de Cabrito (lamb stew)
Picarones (sweet potato donuts with syrup)

Washed down with
Chica morada
plus a Chilean cabernet, a German riesling and an Italian dessert wine.

Total with tax (including corkage) but before tip was $307, or about $34/person with tip.

I think what really stood out for me were the sauces: the bright yellow chile sauce that was delicious on everything, the creamy chile sauce on the aji de gallina, the sauce our waiter identified as "black pepper sauce" (dried black peppers in and oil and vinegar solution) that came with the rotisserie chicken, etc. The alfajores were a very good version, with a delicate cookies that weren't dry or tough. The picarones were better than the ones at La Mar, I thought, but then, who doesn't like sweet, warm fried dough?

Thanks to everyone for coming out!

Inkas Restaurant
3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

  1. Cynsa Nov 10, 2009 11:40 PM

    thanks, Ruth! :D - we had a hella fun time closing down the restaurant; closing down Mitchell's and harassing the neighbors with late night chatter hehehe. Food's great; service is warm & friendly. A Good Time was had by All. p.s. just give me platters of anticuchos and ceviches pescado... pescado sudado + I am happy with everything tonight. Thank you for bringing us together for good chow and great 'hounds.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cynsa
      susancinsf Nov 11, 2009 06:33 AM

      so glad to hear that Grayelf got to try Mitchell's! Grayelf, looking for a full report with your thoughts and flavors tasted....

      interested in hearing more details on the lamb stew and pescado sudado.

      Was there in spirit! :-)

    2. Windy Nov 11, 2009 07:26 AM

      Thanks to Ruth for organizing and Greyelf, for giving us an excuse for a delicious feast.

      The dessert wine was a 2006 Bartenura Malvaisa, and the red sauce is aji panca. It doesn't come with the chicken unless you ask for it.

      I especially enjoyed the dishes I hadn't tried before at Inka's: chicarrones de pollo, crispy fried plantains, and pescado sudado, which reminded me of a Thai soup with cilantro and ginger and tomatoes in a white wine broth. The rotisserie chicken was superb as always, and I can't get enough of the yucca fries.

      I'm not a fan of the cabrito, but I know I'm in the minority. I'll also note that the ceviches and anticuchon were very mild last night. Ordinarily they are somewhat spicier.

      Did someone say the picarones were made from sweet potatoes?

      My first taste of pumpkin ice cream this year at Mitchell's was a great way to welcome the harvest season. And so nice to meet everyone, and hear about trips to Chile and Antarctica!

      Inkas Restaurant
      3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      6 Replies
      1. re: Windy
        mariacarmen Nov 11, 2009 07:58 AM

        The picarones were indeed sweet potato - camote - according to our waiter - and yummy. Yes, thanks everyone, had a great time. We enjoyed the meal as well, and especially meeting chowhounders in person. Our favorite dish, i have to say, was the chicken. I can't think of better rotisserie chicken I've had in San Francisco. We decided we would probably not go back to eat there, necessarily, but would definitely order that chicken to go. However, I did love the lamb - very tender, and just gamey enough. The anticuchos for me were dry - Limon Rotisserie does a much better version. As for the ceviches, i liked the super lime-y tang, but I thought the fish was a tad on the mushy side. And I agree that they could have been spicier - although I know the restaurant went milder to please a variety of palates. Inka's version of chaufa was good and authentic i thought - the shrimps were cooked right, as was the rice. I didn't think the aji de gallina was as authentic as it could have been - not as creamy as others I've had, but still tasty. Ruth is right - the aji amarillo was good on EVERYTHING! and the aji panko with its vinegar base was a perfect foil for the fried chicken. I liked the subtle broth of the sudado (smelled more thai than it tasted) but again I found the fish a tiiny bit overcooked. I actually found the empanada better than expected - not dry, flavorful enough - not my favorite empanada but not bad. Thanks to the ladies for bringing the wines - I loved the Chilean red! The Malvasia had an interesting yeasty nose and went well with those luscious picarones. I thought the alfajores were good too, they tasted like they had made them themselves, though i'm not sure if that's true. The service was very attentive and warm. Sorry we missed out on Mitchell's, but i was so incredibly stuffed! I kept picking at the dishes on the table long after it seemed everyone else had stopped, so i have no one to blame but myself. i will have to post my pics this evening, can't do it from work. Can't wait to hear Greyelf's wrap-up of their trip! Thanks again, everyone.

        Inkas Restaurant
        3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        Limon Restaurant
        524 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        Limon Rotisserie
        1001 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

        1. re: mariacarmen
          mariacarmen Nov 11, 2009 06:52 PM

          here are the pics (sorry, some a little blurry.)

          1. re: mariacarmen
            mariacarmen Nov 11, 2009 07:01 PM

            oops, let's try again.

          2. re: mariacarmen
            mariacarmen Nov 11, 2009 07:03 PM

            and 4 more . . .

            1. re: mariacarmen
              mariacarmen Nov 11, 2009 07:04 PM

              and last but not least . . . .

              1. re: mariacarmen
                Cynsa Nov 11, 2009 08:25 PM

                Picarones (sweet potato donuts with syrup) oh - so good!
                mariacarmen, your pics are great, thank you!

          3. Candice Nov 12, 2009 07:00 PM

            Thanks for organizing and bringing the wine! I live near Inka's and never made it in over the years so it was the perfect opportunity to try a lot of dishes. I thought the ceviche was fresh tasting but definitely would have liked it to be spicier. I prefer the yucca fries at Limon Rotisserie and found the anticuchos to be tough and in need of spice. I was also disappointed by the aji de gallina which is normally a favorite of mine. It was darker yellow here and not as creamy as other versions I've had. I cook a lot of lamb and thought the bite I had was a tiny bit dry but the white beans with it were good.

            That being said, I enjoyed the chicken, picante camarones, ceviche, and pescado sudado enough to put Inka's on my take-out and neighborhood list. I read on yelp (take w/ a grain of salt) that there was an ownership switch to a Chinese owner a while back. No idea if this is true or if they are Chinese from Peru, but I thought the chaufa de camarones and the pescado sudado had a more Chinese or Asian feel to them than other versions I've tried, not to say that there was anything wrong with them though! The service was welcoming and gracious, chilling the brought bottle of white as requested.

            Inkas Restaurant
            3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            Limon Restaurant
            524 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            Limon Rotisserie
            1001 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

            3 Replies
            1. re: Candice
              grayelf Nov 12, 2009 08:09 PM

              What a great final dinner! We have no Peruvian restos in Vancouver, so SF has an embarassment of riches in peruano cuisine it would appear. I enjoyed everything I tried, with the standouts being the plantains, chicarrones de pollo (great sauce), chaufa, pescado sudado and the picarones which I unceremoniously vacuumed up like the proverbial Hoover. And of course the mysteriously addictive yellow pepper salsa which I put on everything except the dessert :-). I can't believe I still had room for Mitchell's sorbet afterward. Agradecimiento a Ruth y todos los Hounds para su hospitalidad y para anadir la chispa a la funcion.

              1. re: Candice
                Windy Nov 12, 2009 08:12 PM

                The owners and head chef of Inka's are two generations of a Chinese-Peruvian family. There's been no change since they opened.

                Inkas Restaurant
                3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                1. re: Windy
                  Candice Nov 13, 2009 03:29 PM

                  Thanks for the info, was wondering about that.

              2. sarahlefton Nov 12, 2009 08:12 PM

                How do you get in on these chow dinners? I live right near this restaurant, for instance, and haven't ever been. Jealous!

                1 Reply
                1. re: sarahlefton
                  Ruth Lafler Nov 12, 2009 10:00 PM

                  SF CHOWHOUND MEETUPS
                  Hounds love to eat, and they love to eat together. Anyone can plan a chowdown and announce it on the board, (see the Etiquette for more: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/367605#2975390 ) but there are a some established regional groups of hounds who dine together, so you might want to get on their mailing lists:

                  You can sign-up for any or all of these lists. I sent the evite to this chowdown out to the SF and East Bay lists.

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