Wednesday, October 23, 2013


The proximity of the USA to Central and South America means there's inevitably a whole new style of food that I'm being exposed to since moving here. I had dinner with friends of friends of friends who have become new friends at the restaurant Pasión, a restaurant in Inner Sunset with a menu that's described as Nuevo Latino but is more Peruvian than anything else.

The interior decorating is certainly, interesting shall we say. I wasn't sure what to make of half the art in there, but it's a conversation starter, if slightly a slightly disturbing one.

The menu is split into a few main sections; ceviches & tiraditos, soups & salads, dishes from the sea, from the land, and from the wood-fire grill. We decided that share plates were the way to go, and although I would have liked to try some of the (expensive-looking) ceviches the other two weren't fans of raw fish.

Nevertheless, we decided on something vegetarian and light to start.

Piquillos Rellenos
The Piquillos Rellenos consisted of stuffed piquillo peppers, goat cheese, eggplant, golden raisins and pine nuts. The peppers were tender and encased the beautiful cheese and eggplant stuffing. The raisins added a nice hint of sweetness, and the pine nuts crunch. A nice balance of flavours and textures in this dish, but my only criticism is that I thought it was simply too small.

Pescado Sudado
We moved onto the pescado sudado of poached halibut, tamarind coconut broth, crispy yuca, mussels. I'm still wrapping my head around yuca/cassava, but the potato-like root is slightly sweet and pleasant tasting. Definitely more interesting than potatoes, although I do prefer taro and sweet-potato over it. The halibut was soft and the broth suitably packed with coconut flavour. The mussels added interest more than taste, but overall this was a good dish.

What we got for the last dish wasn't actually what we ordered.

Arroz con pato
Thankfully, the arroz con pato (pan roasted duck breast, cilantro jasmine rice, huancaina sauce, salsa criolla) was delicious enough with juicy duck and fragrant rice that we (mostly) didn't mind. The aversion to raw fish extended raw anything for one of the party, so she was put off by the slightly red meat. In that sense, the duck empanadas would have been the better option, but it was my fault for saying 'the duck', pointing at the empanadas, and then taking the nodding of the waiter to mean that he understood.

Overall, we had a tasty shared meal at Pasión. The food is well thought out and good quality, if still a bit on the pricey side. You may want to be super-clear when you order your dishes as the wait-staff make assumptions (incorrectly) but it's still somewhere that I'd return to. The Saturday night we were there ended up being fairly busy so reserve ahead.

737 Irving St, San Francisco
Mon-Fri11am-3pm, Sat-Sun 10am-3pm
Mon-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm, Sun 5pm-9pm

Pasion on Urbanspoon