Cheap Eats 2011: Irene’s Restaurant

The decor, reminiscent of a 1970s fast-food chain, is explained by the fact that this once was a Kenny Rogers Roasters. It’s probably time for an update, but the Honduran and Salvadoran cooking has as much soul as the country singer himself, making it easy to look past the surroundings. A trip here is incomplete without a sampling of pupusas–crispy corn cakes oozing fillings such as bean-and-cheese or cheese-and-zucchini and served with a crunchy cabbage slaw. If you’re feeling extra hungry or want to share, try the beef baliadas “with everything”: two gigantic pancake-like tortillas stuffed with beef, scrambled egg, avocado, beans, and cheese.

Also good: Sweet-corn tamales; chicken soup; pollo guisada, a chicken stew; horchata; maranon, an agua fresca made of cashew fruit that has a Concord-grape-like flavor.

Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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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.