Every now and again, the deluge of Asian food gets to be too much for Mr. Plantain. Sure, he loves his pho, ramen, kimchi jigae, etc., even more than most Asians I know, but sometimes he craves the food of his youth. I am already so grateful that he eats all the Korean food I cook up, including seaweed soup (even I used to hate this stuff!), that I am happy to indulge his childhood cravings.
Mr. Plantain was reared on Dominican food in his home. We've got Manna in Takoma Park on our must-try list, but decided to give Salvadorian El Rinconcito a try while we were shopping in Columbia Heights. It may not have been Dominican, but a yuca and fried pork combination plate sounded close enough for our tastes that night.
The fried yuca and chicarrones hit both high and low points. The chicarrones were nicely fried and very tasty (I want a platter of these alone next time), but the yuca was very dry in the middle and not crispy on the outside, not at all like the perfect yuca fries of Taqueria Nacional.
The tamale and pupusas platter we ordered followed the same high/low pattern. The pupusas were perfect, flavorful and fresh (we caught a glimpse of a lady in the back making the pupusas to order). The loroco/cheese pupusas were especially tasty. But, the chicken tamale was completely flavorless, so much so that I gave Mr. Plantain my half. Mr. Plantain will be the first to tell you that I will always fight for my half of anything tasty.
Overall, El Rinconcito II was a cozy basement restaurant of the blink-and-you'll-miss-it variety from the street level. The food highs here were high enough that we'll definitely return and try to sniff out the other highs on the menu. So far, we're loving the chicarrones and pupusas.
El Rinconcito II
1326 Park Rd
Washington, DC 20009