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Fearless Critic restaurant review
DC
Food
Feel
Price
8.2
8.6
$25
Salvadoran
Casual restaurant

Hours
Daily 10:00am–2:00am

Features Kid-friendly, live music
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Not accepted

Hyattsville, MD
2218 University Blvd. E.
Hyattsville, MD
(301) 431-1550

Silver Spring, MD
11300 Georgia Ave.
Silver Spring, MD
(301) 933-2118

Silver Spring, MD
2408 University Blvd. W
Silver Spring, MD
(301) 933-4800
Irene’s Pupusas
The pupusas are served with a side of melodrama at this popular Central American mini-chain

Going to Irene’s Pupusas feels almost like going to a sports bar, except that the wings are replaced with pupusas, the football on the big screens is replaced with Spanish talk shows, and hail marys with the latest intrigue between the beautiful but poor María and her supercilious aristocratic lover. However, there are still plenty of signs advertising different kinds of beer, leather booths, tables with good viewing access, and friendly Central American waitresses. We should note that speaking Spanish (or recruiting a Spanish speaker to be your friend for the day) is helpful. The crowd varies depending on the time of day. The weekday lunch crowd mostly does take out, although a handful of locals always populate a few of the tables. In the evening, families sit in the booths while bachelors crowd around the bar, and weekends feel like an Honduran family reunion.

The stars of the show here are the cheap, handmade pupusas. These greaseless masa patties are filled with various combinations of cheese, loroco, chicken, pork, and/or beans, and griddled until golden. Our favorite, as usual, is the revuelta: salty cheese, creamy beans, and porky chicharrones ooze out of the hot pupusa. Enjoy them topped with red or green salsa and tart curtido (pickled slaw). Although many eat these as an appetizer or snack, making a complete meal out of a few of them isn’t uncommon.

Another standout dish at Irene’s is the greaseless, golden plantains with refried beans and cool, thin Salvadoran sour cream. Among more substantial dishes, try the baliadas, which brim with beans, beef, and avocado; or the spicy lomo saltado with caramelized onions. With huge portions at cheap prices, you won’t go hungry. Wash everything down with a cold beer or a glass of horchata and linger for a bit to catch the end of the latest fiasco on El Gordo y La Flaca. You may find yourself growing so fond of this place that you’ll be trending more towards the former than the latter.

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