El Nuevo Frutilandia (Mission, SF)
El Nuevo Fruitlandia has various Latin American dishes on their menu, but the large number of Puerto Rican specialties makes this Mission restaurant stand out--- Puerto Rican food is a rarity in the Bay Area and is only available elsewhere at Sol Food in Marin and Parada 22 in the Upper Haight (and with a pop-up at Boogaloos in the Mission).
I've not been to Sol Food, but I think I like ELF better than Parada 22. Neither approaches the best items I've had in Puerto Rico, but they certainly have better quality ingredients and preparations than many run of the mill places there. Parada 22 has good quality produce and avocados for example, but their tostones are consistently rubbery and their preparations lack lard. ELF's garlic topped tostones have a good crunch on the outside and taste great overall. There's not an abundance of roast pork in the mofongo, what what they have tastes great and the mashed plantains themselves have the right amount of moisture. It might have been from the roast pork, but I think I sensed lard in there, which would be a plus.
The outside of the Alcapurria's, which are kind of like a tubular plantain and yucca croquette, are excellent. The filling of capers, raisins, and spices were good, but the ground meat part failed to integrate or absorb any of those flavors.
They do a good job with the Plàtanos Maduros, fried plaintains, which are cooked with Kahlua of all things. Good texture and not overly greasy. Very different than Parada 22's, which are soaked in orange juice but still good.
I appreciated that the fried appetizers are garnished with pickled onions.
Their fruit shakes (batidos) include Guanabana, Guava, Mamey, Mango, Papaya, Passion Fruit. The Passion Fruit was thick and very sweet, which is how I like it, but YMMV.
3077 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
re: Robert Lauriston
I vaguely remember them saying they were relatively new owners when I first ate there a year ago.
I don't recall there being cracklings in the mofongo, but that could easily have been an oversight on my part. I'll say that they do a good job at browing deep fried items without greasiness, and the food tastes fresh. However, the lack of lardiness sets them apart from what you'd get at food stands in Puerto Rico. I'd be interested to try some of their entrees and desserts.