Cheap Eats 2007: Samantha's
Comments () | Published July 11, 2007
Address: 631 University Blvd., E., Silver Spring/Takoma Park, MD 20901
Phone: 301-445-7300
Neighborhood: Silver Spring/Takoma Park
Cuisines: Tex-Mex, South American, Peruvian, Mexican, Salvadoran
Opening Hours: Open Sunday through Thursday 11 to 11, Friday and Saturday 11 AM to midnight.
Nearby Metro Stops: Silver Spring
Price Range: Inexpensive
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Not Needed
Best Dishes Chicken tamales; carne asada; Salvadoran-style whole trout; masitas de puerco; seafood pupusas; black beans.
Price Details: Appetizers, $3.95 to $10.95; entrees, $10.95 to $25.95.
It might be set next to an auto-repair garage on a dreary strip of highway, but inside this family-run joint you’re greeted with a peppy mariachi soundtrack, tables packed with extended families, and a basket of tortilla chips with fresh salsa.

The menu is primarily a mix of Mexican (terrific carne asada) and Salvadoran (seven kinds of pupusas) cooking, but it also borrows from other Spanish-speaking countries. Masitas de puerco—cubes of pork marinated in garlic and bitter oranges, then seared until crusty—are a Havana tradition done right. Milanesa de carne—a thinly pounded, breaded steak served with rice salad and beans—transports you to a Buenos Aires cafe. From Spain comes gambas al ajillo, a gratin of shrimp sizzling in a garlicky butter sauce. It arrives with a baguette, and it’s hard not to blow your appetite swabbing up the sauce.

Entrées are so generous that they can be stretched into a day or two of leftovers.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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Posted at 02:28 PM/ET, 07/11/2007 RSS | Print | Permalink | Restaurant Reviews