Better Than The Curate’s Egg

With about a hundred restaurants on The Drive between Broadway and Venables, I guess it is not so strange that, even in my almost twenty years here, I haven’t tried them all before. One of the ones I had missed to date is the Rinconcito Salvadoreno up around 5th. We finally made it there last night.

When I got there at 6, just a couple of tables were in use. By the time my wife arrived fifteen minutes later, every table was full and there was a line-up out the door that continued throughout our dinner. Unknown this place isn’t! I was amazed at how many people they could squeeze into such a small space, including a fourteen-person group that was, we thought, a Spanish language class outing.

As the name suggests, this is a restaurant that features the cuisine of El Salvador, especially pupusas of which they have several varieties including cheese, chiccharron and bean stuffings. The daily special pupusa was queso con loroco. Much of the rest of the menu was recognizable from Mexican fare. I was disappointed (as was our host, I think) that the imported beers were all Mexican rather than Salvadorean (not that I have ever drunk a Salvadorean beer, but I like to try local brews when eating their food).

The especially good looking one of us ordered a couple of pupusa revuelta, rice and salad. She really liked the pupusa, which came with a tasty curtido and tomato salsa; and she appreciated the fact that the salad contained a wide range of good ingredients rather than just a pile of boring greens. We both thought their rice was overcooked.

I made the error of ordering pollo encebollado, chicken with onions. My fault, really; I should have thought it through. I find that re-heated chicken has a peculiarly unpleasant taste (I adore re-heated leftovers, where flavours have been allowed to marry and meld. But NEVER chicken!) I should remember that most Central American cuisines boil chickens for a long time and then re-heat them with various sauces and condiments. Here, I am guessing, the chicken is slow boiled with onions, and then the meat is pulled and heated as ordered. I am positive that if you don’t mind re-heated chicken, then this was well-prepared. I just didn’t like it.

As I mentioned above, this was a crowded, busy place. That level of activity always seems to feed a friendly atmosphere, and so it was. Many of the diners seemed to be regulars, usually a good sign. Service was fine and the price was reasonable. I’ll go again and try something other than the chicken.

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