Photograph by Stacy Zarin-Goldberg
Scan the menu at the Dupont Circle restaurant Mark and Orlando’s and you’ll find crab cakes, a bleu-cheese-stuffed pork chop, and … pupusas?
They might be made with buffalo mozzarella and drizzled with tomato vinaigrette, but the griddled patties here ($8) recall ones from Salvadoran joints. Chef/owner Orlando Hiltzig fell in love with the snacks when he was working at Vidalia, where a cook brought them in for staff.
They’re not the only street-cart specialty on upscale menus. Cathal Armstrong of Alexandria’s Restaurant Eve says, “The ethnic stuff usually comes from something personal.” He put papri chaat, the tamarind-splashed Indian potato salad, on Eve’s bistro menu to please his chef de cuisine’s vegan girlfriend. His is made with micro-cilantro, house-made yogurt, and fingerlings.
Even the Inn at Little Washington is getting in on the trend. Patrick O’Connell, a fan of the Vietnamese restaurant Four Sisters, sometimes serves miniature bubble teas before dessert. But we don’t think you’ll see his flavors, which include strawberry-basil and Asian pear, in a deli at Eden Center.
This appeared in the April, 2009 issue of the Washingtonian.