Witnessing a packed Yerba Buena Perry on a recent weeknight, a casual observer would never guess that we’re in the midst of a recession. The sexy scene at the Pan-Latin hit’s second location—gorgeous young things chatting at the antique bar and squeezed into white banquettes—seems exempt from the scourge that’s destroying so many other restaurants. Perhaps it’s the superior drinks and excellent, assertive food (from chef-partner Julian Medina—the menu here is almost entirely original) that account for the party vibe. Brisk yet capable servers brought out one memorable dish after another. Tiradito was a vivid ceviche of thinly sliced flounder with mild aji amarillo pepper, lime juice, red onion, and the unexpected addition of earthy sweet potato and fried corn kernels (maiz cancha). The kitchen also excelled at fancified versions of humble dishes that were well-worth-it delights, not overpriced duds. A luscious lobster taco special ($17) featured poached meat sauted with butter and arbol chili, balanced with an aromatic mix of avocado, cilantro and fresh salsa. A tres leches dessert, meanwhile, incorporated the milk-soaked cake into a parfait with pisco panna cotta and Mexican chocolate mousse that was both intriguing and gratifying. A mixed grill for two also showed touches of refinement, with buttery rib eye, toothsome New York strip and house-made chorizo complemented by a dainty arepa filled with blood sausage. You’ll need the heft of a steak to absorb the highly alcoholic cocktails—you should have at least one, and we recommend the classic pisco sour, a dangerously smooth blend of pisco, lemon juice, egg white, simple syrup and bitters. It’s all a bit rich for the current economic climate, sure, but for some reason at Yerba Buena Perry, it’s easy to suspend your disbelief.