Janitzi - Page 2

"The cuisine of the Americas" served with style on Valencia Street
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Photo by Rory McNamara

Elsewhere were pats of thyme butter and miniature logs of (mysteriously raw) baby carrot. Our only complaint was that the meat was slightly overcooked; there was just the faintest hint of pink inside. Juice flowed liberally, however, and the flavors were rich and full.

It was hard to tell if the Tarasco cakes ($12) — patties of seasoned, shredded beef leavened with oatmeal (or, the hamburger as experienced by the Tarasco Indians of Mexico's central plateau) — were juicy or not. They didn't need to be, since they were bathed in the same creamy tomato requesón sauce that coated the pasilla peppers. But even without that sauce, they would have been flavorful.

So-called protein dishes (the various meats, the seafood) include your choice of two sides, and these are among the most satisfying items on the menu. Corn, of course, which is native to the Yucatán peninsula, figures prominently in them. It doesn't get much simpler than corn grilled on the cob, and if the corn is height-of-the-season white corn, it doesn't need much tweaking beyond a hint of sweet butter.

Arepas, corn pancakes common in Venezuela and Colombia, were unadorned but creamy inside a nicely blistered crust. Yucca fries could have been crisper but still offered their distinctive sweet savoriness. Braised cabbage turned out to be a close relation of coleslaw, with shreds of red and green cabbage brightened with lime juice.

And, for dessert, a hint of the north: the vanilla dome ($6), vanilla ice cream encased in a shell of dark chocolate, with a heart of caramel. It's like a big Dilly bar that slipped off its stick — the Dilly bar being, for some of us, one of childhood's most memorable bits of (norte) Americana.

JANITZI

Daily, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.

1152 Valencia, SF

(415) 821-2310

Beer and wine pending

AE/DISC/MC/V

Moderately noisy

Wheelchair accessible

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