Samantha’s

June 2006 Cheap Eats

There's a partylike atmosphere at this Salvadoran eatery on University Boulevard. Maybe it's the icy pitchers of tart margaritas. Or the walls in shades evoking Fiestaware. Or the generosity of spirit.

The heaping plates of savory Central American classics–fluffy chicken-stuffed tamales and the marinated There's a partylike atmosphere at this Salvadoran eatery on University Boulevard. Maybe it's the icy pitchers of tart margaritas. Or the walls in shades evoking Fiestaware. Or the generosity of spirit.

The heaping plates of savory Central American classics–fluffy chicken-stuffed tamales and the marinated carne asada–are almost a bonus. The menu offers Mexican standards like fajitas and enchiladas, but that's not where the kitchen's heart is. Look instead to a whole trout, moist within and crisp without. Or delicious morsels of pork spiked with the bite of mustard and bitterness of oranges. Pupusas have an appealingly brittle crust–besides the usual pork and cheese, there's a wonderful seafood version with bits of shrimp and scallop.

Little things are done well, too–house-made tortilla chips, soupy but flavorful black beans, and well-slicked, garlicky white rice so pleasing it could be eaten by the bowlful.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.