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Oct 17, 2010 06:20 PM

Poquito - Dogpatch, SF

New place up the block from Yield, former Franklin's Bar (cop bar that was there for decades). Pan-Latin tapas bar.

Owner is Ecuadorean, menu is a mix of Ecuadorean dishes, other Latin dishes he thinks are hard to find done well (e.g. Cubano and Media Noche sandwiches), and things he has original ideas about (e.g. fish and shrimp "tacos" in jicama instead of tortillas).

Empanadas ($5 for two) were tasty and light. Ecuadorean-style cheese Arepas ($7) were similar to pupusas. The owner had to explain the Ecuadorean-style shrimp ceviche ($9): after you eat the shrimp, you throw in popcorn to sop up the abundant tomato-y broth. My favorite thing was tostado, sort of Ecuadorean Corn Nuts, made from a special variety of corn, sort of like the popcorn kernels that fail to pop but softer and with a good, sweet corn flavor.

Looking forward to going back soon to try more things, particularly the fritada (slow-braised pork that's then seared for a crisp brown crust) and llapingachos (Ecuadorean potato pancakes).

2368 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107

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  1. We thought the food interesting and good, and the owner very friendly. Unfortunately they need to do something about the acoustics. It wasn't just loud, but echoing and so unless they can re-do the decor to deal with the hard edges and bouncing sound, it's too uncomfortable to go back.

    1. A friend and I tried it yesterday for lunch. Friday is the one day of the week that it serves lunch. We were the only customers until close to 1pm, and there were only three others when we left. So if you're looking for a place to have lunch with a large group on short notice, this might be the spot. I made the res via opentable.

      We ordered pretty lightly, splitting three dishes:

      Arepas filled with cheese and green onion - The white cornmeal was quite creamy, softer and wetter than a pupusa, reminescent of the Colombian style of arepa. The stuffing's cooked inside rather than added to the split corncake later. These seemed pan-fried rather than baked in a griddle. I liked the contrast of the browned parts. A bit of tomato salsa with pickled red onions was the accompaniment, as well as the red and green condiments on the table.

      Llapingachos - These potato pancakes were pretty much the same concept. The same filling was encased and then pan-fried in a potato puree base and served with the same tomato salsa. These were stained orangey-yellow, perhaps achiote? I preferred the arepas.

      Camarones al mojo de ajo - Slightly overdone shrimp bathed in garlic were served with sauteed, firmish onions over delicious, creamy white beans. The spinach salad on the side had dried cranberries and some grated cheese. At $23, this was not worth it at all.

      I liked my housemade hibiscus soda, but it was a very small glass for $4.

      The food was interesting enough that I'd be willing to return to try the medianoche or the jicama-wrapped tacos.