Important Import

The new Haltún's Yucatecan specialties

The hemorrhaging of San Francisco's Yucatecan restaurants has finally begun to slow.

Though notable spots like Poc Chuc are still around, the closing of the two branches of Mi Lindo Yucatán left the city with a regional-Mexican vacuum.

So when we discovered that Jesús Peralta, the sous chef from the Noe Valley branch of Mi Lindo Yucatán, was spearheading the kitchen at the Mission's new Haltún, we knew our habanero-fueled daydreams were in capable hands.

Akin to the tostadas of the region, the panucho ($2) and the salbut' ($2) are fried handmade tortillas topped with shredded chicken, pickled cabbage and red onion. The only difference between the two is the former's genius stuffing of black bean purée.

There are plenty of great tamales in the Bay Area. But tamales colados ($3 each), with their masa pushed through a strainer so it's impossibly airy, resemble tamales with a degree in French haute cuisine.

And with Peralta's relleno negro ($11.50), getting burned has never been so blissful. His inky stew of shredded turkey and rounds of house-made pork sausage turns on the surprising backhand of deeply charred chilies.

May Haltún be the first in another Yucatecan restaurant resurgence.

Haltún, 2948 21st St. (at Treat Ave.); 415-643-6411 or haltunsf.com; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily