Because of a recent promotion, I got a WHOLE BUNCH of discounted coupons from Restaurant.com (something like $250 worth of coupons for less than $30). Tonight was the beginning of the coupon adventure with food-buddy, Lisa.
We started with a cocktail at Pisco, the neighboring bar, as Destino was not quite ready to open. I had a lovely “Pisco Cosmo” which was very bright and tangy and Lisa had a classic Pisco Sour which could now be one of my favorite drinks.
While we were pondering the menu, we were given an amuse of a sliced, fried plantain served with a green parsley sauce. I could have eaten a dozen of these easily and both Lisa and I were dipping our fingers in the green sauce.
We ordered four small plates to share: a salad of Mexican papaya, greens, toasted pumpkin seeds, and hearts of palm, skewers of beef heart, a chicken empanada served with queso fresco and Andean black mint, and a ceviche of yellowtail tuna, ginger, sesame oil, and Fresno chiles.
Of the four dishes, the salata and the ceviche were easily far superior. The salad was fresh and points were given for not being over-dressed. The ceviche had large chunks of fish (I hate it when its almost ground) and was also not overdressed but quite rich and well-balanced.
The other two dishes were more wanting; the empanada’s dough should have been brushed with egg before baking and it was a fairly chewy dough. It was served with a very spicy, yellow chili sauce and we were both pleased that we had kept the green sauce from the amuse to moisten it up. Made me miss the empanadas from Empanadas Place in Los Angeles. The beef heart skewers were well-seasoned, but sadly overcooked to the point of being very tough and chewy.
Huge points are given for the great service. After our cocktails, we sat down and ordered Sangria. Being slightly undecided, the waiter suggested one each of the white and red and when we found them too sweet for our tastes, the bartender very graciously took them away and discussed other cocktail options for us. Secondary cocktails that we shared was a Pisco-based Mojito and a Caipirinha, made with a most interestingly smoky Cachaca.
We were debating a dessert and knew of the fame of the Alfajores cookies. On the Destino menu, they only list the cookies by the dozen but the bar, Pisco, has them individually. When asked about dessert choices, we indicated we would go back to the bar for a cookie, our waiter offered us several small dulce de leche caramel-filled cookies which was the perfect ending.
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Tags: beef heart, caipirinha, Castro, ceviche, dulce de leche, empanada, Fresno chiles, ginger, greens, hearts of palm, Mexican papaya, pisco, plantain, pumpkin seeds, queso fresco, San Francisco, sesame oil, yellowtail tuna