Lolinda [San Francisco] - even better than I would have imagined El Raigon was
Was bummed when I heard El Raigon closed, as I never made it there.
But I finally got to check out the new Lolinda restaurant the other night, the argentine steakhouse from the beretta people in the former Medjool space.
food was flat-out excellent - everything was executed very well, with top ingredients, and just really delicious.
the menu is great in that it allows a variety of different combinations - you can commit to a huge steak and nothing else, like my friend did with the ribeye (excellent), or you can get a smaller cut so that you can try some of the hot and cold small dishes. i got a 6oz flap steak and the bone marrow appetizer - both delicious. perfectly cooked with delicious chimmichuri.
it still is a steak place at heart, but vegetarians will still feel comfortable her.e
not surprisingly, cocktails were also excellent.
was a little disappointed in what they did[n't do] with the space, as i was hoping for somethign really interesting given the size and uniqueness of the place, but it mostly felt like medjool with very minor changes.
yelp reports it being packed at night, but not many people there when i went at 6pm last night - but i can't imagine that will be the case for long.
it's interesting - last month when i was in portland i had such a delicious meal at OX, and was lamenting that there wasn't quite anything like it in SF - but my calls have been answered :)
Thanks for the writeup, vulber, I've just been agonizing over whether to try for OX in October or wait for Lolinda in November. Maybe now I'll do both :-).
went tonight for the first time. same as vulber, excellent experience. We also had the rib-eye, AND the Asado Mixto, which consisted of chorizo, morcilla, flap loin, shortribs, potatoes, and shishito peppers. (the waitress tried to warn us that it was a LOT of meat. heh - we made a very good showing.)
The rib-eye was top-notch - so tender, HUGE, perfectly cooked.
The mixto had mixed results, but mostly delicious. I love morcilla, but this version had too much cinnamon for my taste. the chorizo was, i'm not sure what kind, but fine, just not a stand-out. what was a stand-out was the flap loin - ALMOST as delicious as the rib-eye. smokey and tender yet chewy - wonderful. especially when dipped into the chimichurri. the tiras were very good too. the potatoes were buttery fingerlings - nothing needed to be done with them and nothing was, and they were perfect. a hunk of grilled bread came on the plate as well.
we split the palmito salad - excellent - very lime-y (the dressing, we were told, is lime, jalapeno, garlic, olive oil, and a little sugar.) the palmito and avocado gave the whole thing a kind of creaminess.
we also got the Acelga - sauteed kale with crimini, which was a little underseasoned for me, but that was ok as everything else was so well-seasoned. but i'd probably not get it again.
i had a very good glass of Malbec - a 2011 Recuerdo from Argentina - full bodied, nice finish, lots of good berry notes.
we can see going back and just splitting the rib-eye (18 ounces!! yeah, we took most of it home!) and a salad, and being perfectly happy. then again, i'd love to try the mollejas (sweetbreads) and the octopus, and the yuca/ricotta croquetas with rocoto aioli..
Vulber, unlike you, i really loved the decor - very South American steak house - love the giant cow mural, the "wagon wheel" lamps, the cow heads, the wood, the warm lighting... i always thought Medjool looked cheesy (never ate there, just walked in and checked it out a few times). We got there at 6:30 and the place filled up by about 7.
a steakhouse this good is a great addition to the neighborhood.
I went again last night - sat at the bar, shared that fantastic ribeye and the wonderfully reach and creamy palmito salad. the BF ordered the carne empanadas, and they were very good, especially bathed in their chimichurri.
i'm liking this steak better than almost any i've ever had - and i don't care that it's not aged. so smokey, perfectly cooked, perfectly marbled with fat. we had enough to take home with us and ate it at room temp later that night. still amazing.
we went at about 6:30. It was fun sitting at the bar, watching the bartender mix all his fancy concoctions (i just had a malbec reserva).
we enjoyed it when we went but the noise was a big problem both times I've been there now.
Excellent food, good service and impossible to have a conversation even if you scream. This is an excellent place for a group meal but less ideal for quiet intimate dinner for two.
I was dining with the French spouse who is a pescatarian and our LA friend who doesn't eat pork yet we managed to find many things they could eat. Unless you are coming with a strict vegan or raw foodie you can probably find something here for everyone.
-Ceviche de Pescado, the fish pieces were large, it was lightly marinated but still had all the right flavours.
-Ensalada de Lentejas-charred veggies and lentils. good solid dish
-Empanadas de Maiz-corn and cheese, you can't go wrong with that combo and these didn't
-Croquetas-yucca tater tots. YUM!
-Pulpo, the few pieces of octopus we had in the dish were great but this was really a huge plate of bland beans with a garnish of octopus. disappointing.
-Mollejas-sweetbreads, not the best I've had, not the worst.
-Corvina. seabass grilled on skewers, it was very salty but in the best possible way.
-Matambre flank steak, delicious.
we liked the fried corn cakes that came with one of the dishes that we asked for some more and they brought us a plate with just the cakes, so yummy.
The service was very friendly if a bit disorganized with servers not always knowing if dishes had been brought out. It was very busy with many large table of tipsy people including some Marina girls that literally bummed into our table due to the "celebrating" they had already been doing at the bar downstairs.
It was also incredibly noisy even with the sound panels they had installed. It was impossible to talk at a normal level and I would not have a more intimate dinner here because of that.
I've had the flank & NY steak from the grill, wonderful smokiness. The flank was delicious, but the NY was underseasoned twice.
The malbec braised lengua was some of the best lengua I've had.
Ceviches and croquettas are nice to start with, but it's all about the grilled meats here.
I had a great meal all around. It's a good alternative to Limon for meat-centric small plates in the Mission. It's easy to make reservations on fairly short notice.
Catch-22 : the space is too loud for a large group to converse, but it's otherwise one of the few places in the Mission that could accommodate a large party. The vibe is slightly less Marina-ey than Medjool.
The kitchen's pacing was good, but there seemed to be a shortage of servers.
Onto the food... most dishes have veggies on the side that serve as more than just garnish.
Shishito peppers: as good as any other place frying these. No reason not to eat plain, but they're served with a creamy sauce.
Ceviche de Pescado : brightly flavored ceviche. Paired with a high caloric side--- a funky shaped conglomeration of fried corn that was easy to split and wasn't too heavy.
Croquetas : huh. I interpreted these as creamy, well-structured potato croquettes. It turns out they were yucca-ricotta croquettes. Ignorance is bliss... favorite item of the evening.
Pulpo : octopus was a little too soft, so it failed to contrast with the soft beans' texture
Mollejas (sweetbreads): delicious mild offal flavor. Good char.
Asado Mixto (for two $38) chorizo, morcilla, flap loin, shortrib, potatoes, shishito peppers.
Chorizo was a little dry and could have used more spicing and fat.
Morcilla (blood sausage) Brought back memories of botifarra negra in Barcelona, but not as compact. Has a lot of cinnamon, but it gets tamed within the juicy crumbly bits.
Shortrib: cut similar to korean shortribs. Strong flavor, juicy, not oily.
Tomato and saffron braised short ribs : unintentional comfort food--- it tasted like an upscale version of my mother's Italian-American sweet and sour meatballs with tomato sauce and raisins.