Friday, February 5, 2016

Virginia's Restaurant

A line cook from another restaurant let me know that a new Salvadoran restaurant had opened near him and so Ann and I took off on a date, our first Thursday night date ever. Trust me, I am milking this slow January business for all it is worth and letting my sous chef shoulder the load. So we went to check out Virginia's Restaurant which was all but empty. It looked like maybe they were doing some take out and delivery business, but not much. This time of year is really hard on us in this business.

It looked to be a two-woman show with one running the front and one running the kitchen and both washing dishes. The one serving us apologized for the lack of menus written in English, which distresses me not in the least. The menu is extremely brief, about six or seven antojitos including a couple of tortas; three soups; and six or seven main courses. We chose antojitos: pupusas, yuca frita, and achiote-tinted pasteles.

The pupusas are really good, but then I've never met one that I didn't like. I had loroco, Ann had frijol and queso, and we ordered another each frijol and queso to take home to Carter. Thin, tender, and delicious, these were great pupusas.The curtido was uninspired and unfermented, almost an afterthought, which is too bad, because I think of curtido as one of the great gifts to the world from Salvadoran cuisine.

The chicken in the pasteles de pollo was difficult to find, the filling being mainly potato. I'm fine with that though and these were both hot out of the fryer and tasty enough.

Yuca Frita con Chicharrón
Yuca frita is another hallmark Salvadoran dish. And this one was just OK. I prefer the dish when it is done like a Salvadoran poutine: French fry-like pieces of yuca mounded on a plate, covered in shredded and pan-fried chicharrón, maybe a little tomato sauce, and a topping of curtido. The chunks of yuca were great as yuca always is; I like yuca fries so much better than potato fries (and I love potato fries). The chunks of pork were fried to submission though, too done for my liking. Again, the curtido should have brought an acidic twang to the dish to help cut through the starch and fat, but it didn't.

All in all, food for three people for less than the price of an entrée at my restaurant says a lot. I hope they make it because it is the only pupuseria in downtown, the other two being a good bit out of the way.

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