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Thursday, September 3, 2015

How much is the coconut in the window? Coco Frio Opens in the Mission

Posted By on Thu, Sep 3, 2015 at 11:01 AM

click to enlarge The Coco Frio made with blanco and coconut rum, house coconut water and crema, fresh mint, and lime juice. - BREAD AND BUTTER PR
  • Bread and Butter PR
  • The Coco Frio made with blanco and coconut rum, house coconut water and crema, fresh mint, and lime juice.

2937 Mission Street may not look like much from the outside — save for the coconut drink in the window with the tiny umbrella and the bright-green straws. It may not look like much from the inside either, with its pale peach walls, humble concrete floor, and bare bones décor. But to judge Coco Frio, chef Manny De Torres Gimenez’s latest culinary endeavor, by its wall art (or lack thereof) would be a grave mistake. The Mission bar and restaurant (Torres Gimenez's fourth in the neighborhood) officially opened Tuesday, September 1, and after two weeks of serving family and friends, they are more than ready for the public.

click to enlarge Small plates (clockwise from bottom left): octopus, areas, fried plantains, mattress breaker—muscles, shrimp and sea beans in a coconut sauce) - BREAD AND BUTTER PR
  • Bread and Butter PR
  • Small plates (clockwise from bottom left): octopus, areas, fried plantains, mattress breaker—muscles, shrimp and sea beans in a coconut sauce)

The untrained eye might miss the Caribbean oasis in Coco’s ambience. It isn’t Hawaiian Islands extravagant (and there are no tiki drinks to be found). But it is island-inspired, with dishes and drinks drawn from the chef's native Venezuela and the neighboring island of Margarita. For Torres Gimenez, the restaurant is one part Venezuela and two parts vacation, with a carefree, kick-off-you-shoes atmosphere that is meant to feel like happy hour all night long, and has the prices to do just that. 

At $15, that coconut rum drink (the restaurant’s namesake Coco Frio) serves two and is the most expensive beverage on the menu. Other cocktails include a $10 Hipster Colada and a Fernet Coca-Cola. Bar bites range from $5-$10, including rice bowls with sashimi and the chef’s signature (and outstanding) arepas — Venezuelan tacos composed of lobster, shrimp, chicken or beef; melted cheese, cilantro, avocado and onion all sandwiched between fluffy maize flatbread and doused in special sauces. One bite in and you’ll see where all of the effort has gone in the 30 days since the chef took over the place.

click to enlarge $5 Octopus - BREAD AND BUTTER PR
  • Bread and Butter PR
  • $5 Octopus

If you’re only coming for drinks and bites, pull up a stool at the long wooden bar; you’re welcome to stay the whole night. But you’ll be missing Coco Frio’s best offerings if you forego the $30 prix fixe, which is heavy on fresh seafood and changes almost daily. The dishes are savvy, sometimes saucy, ranging from a luxurious lobster bisque to fresh ceviche and fried plantains to comforting chicken in coconut sauce. Wine pairings are available for a meager $15, with dulce de leche to top off the evening. Take a Caribbean vacation without breaking the bank (or leaving the Mission for that matter). Allow Manny De Torres Gimenez to welcome you as a guest in his culinary oasis.

Coco Frio 2937 Mission St., 415-375-1185.


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A. K. Carroll

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