Several years ago, the parking lot for our local BART station was converted (at least partially) into a couple of large buildings, with real estate for shops, parking, and restaurants on the first floors, and apartments up above. This change pretty much coincided with the crash of our economy, and likely for that reason, much of the retail space remains empty. There is a Starbucks, of course. There is a ‘brow bar’, a ballet studio for the toddler set, an insurance agent’s office, and a place to take your dog for training and play. About a year and a half ago, we noticed that one of the store fronts was rented, but development didn’t happen. It just sat there, for about a year. I don’t know the story, if there were funding issues or what, but several months ago we finally saw some movement, and a lot of work going into a new restaurant. It finally opened about 2 weeks ago, and it was worth the wait.
Parada New Peru is the latest offering from chef Carlos Altamirano. He is a well renowned chef in the Bay Area, with a Michelin starred restaurant, La Costanera in Half Moon Bay, three other restaurants, and several food trucks delivering his food to the area. If I had known all of this before hand, perhaps we would have made a reservation before walking over for dinner on our 22nd anniversary. As it was, it was more like, “Want to try that new Peruvian place?” “Sure!” So off we went. We arrived at about 5:15 on Friday night, and were told they were booked solid until 8. We had a play in SF at 7:30, so that wouldn’t work for us. They suggested we get take out. OK, but the atmosphere is nice, and it’s our anniversary, and we wanted to sit down for a few minutes at least. There was a table in the small bar area that was reserved for 6:00, so they let us sit and have a drink and an appetizer, then we took our main course to go.
We started with the cebiche (the Peruvian spelling of the word I’ve always seen spelled ‘ceviche’) tasting, which included 3 cebiches: Pescado (fish of the day), Chino (ahi tuna), and Mixto (fish, prawns, and calamari). They were all delicious and complex. One had a little heat, one was tart, and the third was maybe a little sweet. My favorites were the tuna and the mix. So good. I had a glass of wine, though I have no idea what it was. Just that it was white. Ted had a Manhattan, which he declared good, but not the best. He wasn’t a big fan of the orange peel in his drink, but otherwise it was good. For our main course, I had the Lomo Saltado, which was a delicious stir fried beef tenderloin, with onions, tomatoes, soy sauce & shoestring fries. Oddly, it came with both fries and rice. I like both, so that was OK by me. I’m not familiar enough with Peruvian food to know if this is normal or not. Seemed like a lot of starch. Ted had the Langostino Crocantes, which was crispy quinoa encrusted wild Mexican white shrimp with sweet potato gratin & Inca Kola BBQ. It was delicious, though a little more sweet than he wanted. Perhaps that was the gratin. Both dishes were really good, the ambiance was lively, the wait staff friendly.
I didn’t feel like our waiter knew the menu as well as he should have, but it’s a new restaurant. Give it some time, and I’m sure they’ll have it all figured out. I wish the prices were a little more reasonable, as our casual dinner ran about $100 for the two of us. There were plenty of staff on hand, the rent is high around here, and it tasted like the ingredients were all top line and really good quality. I hope it does well, and I look forward to going back. Welcome to the neighborhood, Parada. Glad to have you here.