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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Salvadoran, Mexican
Casual restaurant

Daily 11:00am–1:00am

Bar Wine
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Not accepted

Takoma Park, MD
7637 New Hampshire Ave.
Takoma Park, MD
(301) 434-4272
Salvadoran food, both coastal and inland

There are plenty of authentic Salvadoran holes-in-the-wall around these parts. But this one, in the dingy-looking Takoma/Langley Crossroads Center, has an unusually fun atmosphere, beginning with the friendly staff and cheery yellow walls. The brown-carpeted space is long and narrow, but it somehow feels like home.

So does the food—if home is El Salvador. Stay away from the Tex-Mex section of the menu (chicken fajitas, crab quesadillas, and such) at all costs, and head straight for the Salvadoran specialties, beginning with sopa de mondongo (a rich tripe soup), or, for the squeamish, the sweeter sopa de gallina (chicken stew). There are delicious Salvadoran enchiladas, which come on a crispy shell piled with meat, vegetables, and egg—more like the Mexican tostada. And there’s classic plato típico salvadoreño, with marinated steak, sweet plantains, a tamal, and beans. A fried whole fish is less exciting, fresh enough, but a bit dry.

Oysters on the half shell, ceviche, and sopa de mariscos evoke of the area in El Salvador for which the restaurant is named; it’s along the Pan-American Highway, near the coastal city of La Unión. (A kitschy poster with a team photo of the Mogotillo FC soccer side adorns one of the walls.) Add lobster and egg, and they’ll call it sopa vuelve a la vida (“come back to life”). Good, too, are the eminently Salvadoran pupusas; you can’t find the classic filling of loroco (a green vegetable) and cheese everywhere, but Mogotillo has them. They also have tajadas con carne molida (slices of salty green plantain with ground beef), an authentic treat.

Just remember to keep your wits about you: around every corner of the menu lies another dish with a name like “Nachos Supreme Alex.” But you’ve got navigational skills, right?

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