Salvadoreno v. Guanaquito: Clash of the Pupusas
In The Other Corner: Guanaquito
The Setup: Named for the people of El Salvador, Guanaquito also is a family-owned restaurant and a hard find along McDowell, with a front that appears to be closed shaded by the huge "Gourmet House of Hong Kong" sign. Fear not, as the entrance is in the back of this modest restaurant filled with Salvadorian touches and an extensive menu to whet anyone's taste buds.
The Good: The sides definitely stand out at this pupusería, with an obvious attention to detail in both the salsa roja and curtido, which must always be eaten with pupusas. A balance of spiciness and flavor gives Guanaquito the upper hand here, with the fact that each bite of the pupusa was only truly complete with both the sides. Plus, the meal came with complimentary chips and fabulous salsa (of which I could have drunk a pint glass worth). For the pupusas themselves, the cheese was a much more positive taste influence than Salvadoreno -- for one there was much more, and it was gooier and more flavorful, not just a salty (yet delicious) mass.
The Bad: Though the cheese was delectable, Guanaquito had trouble with spreading the bean and loroco love. At first, I had thought that I had mistakenly received two loroco pupusas, but it was that the beans were simply only on one side of the pupusa. And the loroco was so lacking that the cheese had only a few green, flowery specks almost like a pepperjack cheese rather than an additional, non-cheese ingredient. The high levels of cheese, while delicious and perfectly crisped on the outside, made for an overall disappointingly softer masa exterior.
And the Winner is . . . Salvadoreno. Though both spots served delicious meals, it is clear that Salvadoreno has a knack for pupusas by fully understanding the ratio necessary to succeed. Given, it is hard to find an unsatisfactory pupusa and Guanaquitos does have the ingredients and capabilities for a delectable experience, this battle is about pupusas and Salvadoreno definitely lives up to its name.