[Photo: Aubrie Pick]
In mid-August, the highly anticipated Lolinda arrived on Mission Street. As the newest venture from the Beretta (Delarosa/Starbelly/Super Duper) team, this swanky 220-seat, California-inspired Argentine steakhouse re-inhabited the spacious spot that was Medjool. The menu, by chef Alejandro Morgan, is filled with wood-fired meats and other Latin America-inspired small plates met by a beer assortment a la consultant Rich Higgins and craft cocktails made by former Death & Co./Bar Agricole barman Lane Ford. Will Lolinda live up to the Beretta/Delarosa/Super Duper legacy? Will this mega-restaurant succeed in charming the public without the charms of its roofdeck (yet)? To the Early Word for a read on the situation.
The Meat News: "It's a carnivore's delight with over seven different types of grass-fed, grain finished beef cuts," writes Zagat's Meesha Halm, and Tasting Table says the wood fire gives meats a "rustic, primal cast." Bauer "loved the warming embrace" of the short ribs. On the other hand, Yelper Nick S. laments, "For people that have spent significant time in Argentina, you may be disappointed with the quality of meat and dismal attempt at chimichurri."
The Non-Steak News: Tasting Table suggests "skirting the steak in favor of small plates" including the "the pulpo salad ($11), a warm salad of grilled baby octopus, white beans and frisée, and the calabasas ($5), or grilled baby pattypan squash tossed with chimichurri butter." Chowhounder Vulber found the food "flat-out excellent" and adds that "it still is a steak place at heart, but vegetarians will still feel comfortable here." Finally, an anonymous SF Eater commenter counters, "Ceviche on an Argentinian restaurant? Obviously the owners have not been to Argentina. Is this a fusion menu?"
The Revamp News: Yelper Brianna H. found the space to be a "huge huge step up from Medjool, while Chowhounder Vulber was "a little disappointed in what they did[n't do] with the space, given the size and uniqueness of the place, but it mostly felt like Medjool with very minor changes." On the flipside, Tablehopper finds the "gaucho rusticity" of the restaurant "sophisticated," evoking the "feeling of being in a fancy barn" with "dim lighting, a tango-influenced soundtrack, and a sleek aesthetic."
The Drink News: Jason Henry at SFoodie was "particularly thrilled" to discover that the beer list was curated by beer consultant Rich Higgins. He calls the selections "carefully chosen...inspired by the European cultures whose immigration to South America helped shape the culinary landscape." Meesha Halm at Zagat points out, "If there's one thing you can count on from the Beretta team is an ace bar program." And Alisha W. on Yelp found the bartenders to be "crazy knowledgeable about all types of spirits and wines."
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· All Lolinda Coverage [~ ESF ~]