Restaurant Review: Mario Sabino's
Dishes from El Salvador are the way to go at this new Latin watering hole on Lemmon.
This small restaurant offers a wide range of Mexican food, but we like to order from the short list of specialties from El Salvador. Recently we feasted on pupusas, tamals, fried plantain, grilled quail, and marinated pork, and washed it all down with a couple rounds of Pilsener 100 ($3.50), which is brewed in El Salvador. The pupusa, a thick, puffy version of a corn tortilla, is filled with cheese and pork or cheese and beans and lightly griddled. Once cut with a fork, the pasty-in-a-good-way mixture dissolves in your mouth and, like warm polenta or grits, soothes your soul. We unwrapped steaming banana leaves to discover a small fist of moist masa packed with pieces of potato and chicken. The pupusas and tamales are listed under appetizers and when combined with an order of fresh guacamole make a nice meal for two. However, we’d already ordered entrées. Our waitress brought out a huge oval platter loaded with yucca, fried plantain, rice, black beans, and a 6-inch strip of grilled pork. The beans were rich with flavor, but the pork, pounded thin, was dry. (That said, the pork and the rest of the leftovers were easily resuscitated with a generous sprinkling of water before reheating for lunch the next day.) The grilled quail were the meatiest little birds I’ve tasted in years. The lightly smoked meat was tender to the tine and tooth. I should go back to try the nachos, quesadillas, and tacos, but I don’t think I will. I love slinking into a high-back booth and immersing myself in the unique flavors of El Salvador. Even if I’m only on Lemmon Avenue in Dallas.
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