Out of all the new additions to San Francisco in April, these two restaurants launch with the most promise
Parada 22  brings some much-needed new blood to the Upper Haight. It's cheap, tasty Puerto Rican food with Cuban influences in a bright, aquamarine space showcasing an eclectic mix of South American antiques and knick knacks, while Latin jazz plays over the speakers. The concept is current and breezy: order at the counter, eat at picnic tables or stools, or take to go. I've been twice so far and the food has been consistently good... it'll will be even better once they're serving Sangria from next door neighbor, Cha Cha Cha.
Early menu recommends: Camarones a la Criolla ($11.50): sauteed shrimp, tomato and onions in a light pepper cream sauce. Pernil Asado ($9.50): confit-like roasted pork leg in garlic and oregano sofrito. Cubano ($9): pork, sweet ham, pickle, Swiss cheese, mustard, pressed sandwich. Maduros/Plantains ($4.50).
1805 Haight, SF.
Lafitte's delectable Iberian pig. Photo by Virginia Miller.
Lafitte  comes with revolutionary manifesto and stunning waterside perch along the Embarcadero. The menu is a moving target as it evolves daily, not just due to available ingredients but also inspiration and vision from Dissident Chef Russell Jackson . Jackson leads his team, many who were with him during his Dissident Chef dinner days, in an open kitchen showcasing their creative style. This approach will surely not please everyone, requiring strong vision to execute with room for variance from one meal to the next. Having visited twice, for dinner and their newly launched weekend brunch, I experienced deliciousness and high quality ingredients, even if sizes were too small at brunch. Read more in The Perfect Spot .
Early menu recommends (check the website for a limited menu of the day, ranging from $8-28 – appetizers on the lower end, entrees in the $20’s): any dish with prized Ibérico Pig Jackson has shipped over from Spain; Anchovy Onion Tart;“Bangers and Mash" (sausage over mashed potatoes in duck jus; also available at brunch for $12); Fried Duck Egg over butter-grilled asparagus, Green-Eyed Monster Cocktail ($12): Hendrick’s Gin, green chartreuse, jalapeno, lemon and sage; brunch non-alcoholic drink, The Dandy ($7): lemon, thyme, bergamot zest, cream, egg white, soda.
The Embarcadero, Pier 5