Monday, September 5, 2016

High-End Cal-Mex At Loló (Don't Duck The Whiteboard)

Duck Chimichangas!

It was my daughter, visiting from New York, who suggested Loló, a place that would never have crossed my mind (perhaps because it is on Valencia St.) Our original plan was to cool our heels at In Situ after a grueling afternoon at the new SFMOMA, but she remembered someone in her yoga class had recommended Loló. It was Thursday night, which meant my friend Nite Yun's Cambodian Noodle popup Nyum Bai would be happening at Mission Mercado, a mere block from Loló, and that sealed the deal for me: a Kuy Teav appetizer (we split a bowl) followed by some toney Mexican small plates.

Loló is wildly popular for its "modern" Cal-Mex ("Jaliscan Californian Inspired Cuisine" says their website), but I don't consider myself sufficiently grounded in Mexican cuisine to judge if it's worth the tariff; nonetheless, Loló immediately endeared itself to me by presenting me with options for my two favorite animal proteins: lamb and duck, perhaps the last thing I expected to find at a Mexican restaurant. You may not be as lucky as me: while lamb, in the form of lamb sliders, is on the regular menu, the whiteboard's come-hither was a daily special, duck chimichangas. DUCK CHIMICHANGAS! In a more conventional vein, we also ordered tuna tacon [sic], empanadas and flautas (the last two being meatless and possibly vegetarian if not vegan).

The lamb sliders were unremarkable, containing ground lamb from whatever part of the animal that doesn't taste lamb-y. (I always wonder about people who don't want their lamb to be lamb-y or their fish to taste fishy, but expect their beef to be beefy and their chicken to be chicken-y). The most exciting part of this dish was the accompanying haystack if crispy potato slivers.

The duck chimis were more interesting; a savory (and ducky) mousse-like filling in shells that appeared to have been baked rather than deep fried. They came with a dipping sauce and a large dab of the house guacamole for garnishing. I'd be lying, though, if I said this was my favorite part of the meal. That honor goes to the tuna tacon, a hearty slab of seared albacore tuna, a spear of avocado and a shellfish-infused aioli on a small flour tortilla, kind of the ultimate fish taco.  It's said to be Loló's signature dish, and rightly so. The two vegetarian dishes, the flautas and the empanadas were well executed if demure (due to the lack of animal flesh?)

Loló looks like a great date place; everything seems to come in two pieces (ideal for sharing) except for the flautas (3) and it's a place where you can show you're not a cheapskate without blowing your inheritance.

974 Valencia St.
San Francisco

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be moderated. Spam and unnecessarily abusive comments will be deleted.