Saturday night was girls’ night out: Dinner + a movie at the Sundance Kabuki theater just a few blocks away.
Now, I’m not super familiar with Peruvian food so I can’t speak to Fresca’s authenticity, but I can speak to it’s deliciousness!
We ordered a carafe of sangria to split between the 5 of us as well as the ceviche with the catch of the day (I can’t remember exactly which ceviche we ordered, it was the first one on the menu). The sangria was pretty good. If we had split the carafe between fewer people, I know it would have been a sleeper and got us all drunk without us realizing it until we stood up. The ceviche was ok. A little bit too much lime (and I love sour stuff so that’s really saying something), I did really like the nuts that were in there – sorry this review sucks because I can’t remember what anything there was called and their menu online is outdated – maybe the sangria was stronger than I thought! If you do get ceviche, definitely opt for a side of plantain chips.
My friend and I split the Arroz con Mariscos, Fresca’s version of Spanish paella. It was so good! It was Peruvian-style green paella with cilantro rice, mussels, clams, shrimp, calamari, fish, little tiny scallops and green peas. Rice was cooked perfectly and I love that they put fried calamari in it vs just putting regular cooked squid. The crunch of the calamari with the softness of the rice was fantastic combined with the shrimp, clams, and mussels. They did put mostly calamari though and only 3 pcs of each of the other kinds of seafood, which would be my only complaint. It was huge so splitting it was the perfect size. I’ve had paella twice before and I didn’t like it either time. The first time was a long time ago at a restaurant in Berkeley that I can’t remember the name of, and I was probably too young to appreciate any of it anyway. The 2nd time was 5 years ago when I spent the summer in Spain and got mono (I’ll make it very clear that it was from Kevin) so the paella was disgusting – because I couldn’t stomach it. So this was far an away a much better experience than the last two.
Other dishes at the table:
Aji de gallina – pulled chicken stew, aji amarillo cream, yukon potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, walnuts with a side of rice. My best friend from high school is Peruvian. Her mom makes this all the time and it’s so darn good. It’s hard not to be biased, but this actually measures up pretty well. It’s really rich and creamy and there’s tons of chicken.
Lomo Saltado – tenderloin steak strips, onion, tomato, jasmine rice, sub out the fries – sub in the platanos fritos (fried sweet plantains). This was really good. Steak was tender and juicy and full of flavor. The fried plantains were like dessert but tasted really good with the saltiness of the steak. Yum yum!
Ahi Tuna – the tuna was seared perfectly and had some really great seasoning on the outside.
Overall, a really great meal and the service was fantastic! The restaurant is a little on the smaller side, so a reservation is definitely recommended. Sorry I didn’t take any pictures, it was too dark anyway and I don’t have a new smartphone that adjusts the lighting for me (C’mon, Apple! Send me my new phone already!).
After dinner, we went to Sundance Kabuki where you can reserve your seats ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about getting to the theater super early to save seats for your party. The other fun part is they have cocktails that are named after the movies playing at the theater and you can bring them into the movie with you AND they use REAL BUTTER on their popcorn. Yum! If you haven’t been, you NEED to go ASAP.