Right where the foggy Inner Sunset becomes the also-foggy Outer Sunset, a new restaurant joined the ranks of classics. Lomo Libre, the food truck-turned-restaurant from San Francisco born-and-raised Jose Calvo Perez, turned the lights on its massive ruminant sign at the end of June. It’s a special opening for the restaurateur; he started his cooking career in the city and his father cooked on the other side of the park at Alejandro’s on 19th Avenue and Clement Street. Without much fanfare, the team got to whipping out lomo saltado and pouring drinks earlier this summer.
The restaurant held a soft opening June 21, and the neighborhood seem to be still realizing there are folks sizzling noodles and mixing pisco sours behind the doors of the former Underdogs location on Irving Street near 19th Avenue. The menu is alcohol forward — Peruvian lagers, tequila, mezcal, and pisco are stars of the show — which is exactly the vibe Calvo Perez wants to bring to the otherwise sleepy block. He hopes football season can be the kickoff into loud, big groups of people staying until last call.
Food options run the range of what fans of the food truck might expect from Lomo Libre: red snapper ceviche and a mixto ceviche of calamari and snapper, both served with concha and sweet potato, and lomo saltado, the staple of onions, cilantro, and fries. (There’s also a tofu option for the vegetarians out there.) The noodle rendition on the saltado made with udon noodles is a big hit. “People love it,” Calvo Perez says.
Calvo Perez still owns Fresca, on 9th Avenue and Irving Street, in addition to Puerto 27 in Pacifica. If you haven’t swung through, perhaps consider doing so on July 28, Peruvian Independence Day. While the chef will be on a vacation with his parents to Lima (they’re celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary) he plans to dream up a few cocktail specials and celebratory dishes. “It’ll be a special day,” Calvo Perez says.
Lomo Libre, 1824 Irving Street, is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.