Jacky Chan Sushi

4 Jul

Just when you thought the sushi boom in Wichita had hit critical mass, along comes Jacky Chan Sushi. This tiny place opened up in the spring of 2014 at Central and Oliver, replacing the small building that formerly housed Sit@Thai Express. What caught my attention about this place was the fact that the sushi chef(who goes by Jacky Chan) had previously worked at Kwan Court, one of our most missed former restaurants.

Hot and Sour Soup: Can't Complain About Free Soup

Hot and Sour Soup: Can’t Complain About Free Soup

This is an intimate setting with only a few tables in the small dining area. It is a nice change of pace from other sushi joints in town that rely on loud music and an open seating area for ambiance. The menu features a lot of options, but is not as overwhelming as some sushi menus that take several hours to fully comprehend. Jacky Chan also does not go overboard with the crazy deep fried rolls. While there are certainly some creative dishes, there is also a respect for the simplicity of traditional sushi. If someone in your group is not into sushi there are several fried rice dishes, noodle bowls, and even Pho for them.

During our lunch time visit we could not pass up the Kansas roll. This sushi roll was one of our favorites at Kwan Court so we were pleased to see Jacky was offering it. We also ordered both the A and B Sushi lunch options to get a good sampler of what they had to offer.

Nothing Says Kansas Like Steak Sushi

Nothing Says Kansas Like Steak Sushi

While waiting for our meals to come out, our waitress brought us each a sample of their Hot and Sour soup. I am not one to complain about free soup, so I happily consumed this impressive bowl of sliced bamboo, eggs, mushrooms,tofu, and carrots with a nice gingery kick. Next out was the Kansas Maki Roll which consisted of grilled steak, crab,and  lettuce. While the steak was overdone(which seems strange to say at a sushi place), the maki roll was still as good as the Kwan Court version. After we polished off the Kansan our lunch specials came out. Both featured two different maki rolls, several pieces of nigiri(thinly sliced raw fish and a ball of rice), and large ball of sushi rice with some fish roe. My favorites were the unagi(freshwater eel) with a sweet glaze and the Philly maki. The most

Lunch Sushi Combo B

Lunch Sushi Combo B

interesting offering was the egg sushi. It was basically a Japanese omelet, which is denser and sweeter than the American version, perched atop sushi rice. The texture was a bit odd, but I enjoyed trying something new. I thought the raw fish samples where about as good as you can find here in Wichita. For $10 the sushi lunch was a good deal for some basic and simple sushi. Next time I would like to try some of the other specialty rolls that looked interesting.

As we were leaving the restaurant, I happened to notice Jacky Chan himself was out in the back of the building scaling a fine looking fish. Although I’m sure the health department wouldn’t be too impressed, I was. I’m sure that same scene takes place every day in Japan. There is plenty of competition in Wichita when it comes to sushi and I think I will have to give Jacky’s another try before I pass ultimate judgement.

Jacky Chan Sushi on Urbanspoon

Taste and See The Restaurant

13 Jun

Taste and See started off with humble beginnings tucked inside of the old Wichita Mall on East Harry. At this outpost Chef Jason Febres made a name for himself with his open kitchen restaurant design, creative South American fusion cuisine, and elaborate intimate dinners. I had my doubts whether such an audacious venture would be able to sustain itself in South Wichita, but things appear do be going well since there is now a Taste and See in Old Town as well as at McConnell. Since the opening last year of Taste and See The Restaurant in Old Town, the original building is now known as the Venue where cooking classes, private dining, and special events are held.

Cheviche with Plantain Chips

Cheviche with Plantain Chips

The Old Town location offers a large and open dining area with less emphasis on the whole stadium kitchen concept that was prevalent at the original location. There is still a large projector screen although it was turned off on our visit. The interior is decorated with vibrant colors and plenty of pictures of food porn.

Taste and See bills itself as serving global cuisine and the menu certainly backs that up. The dinner menu features everything from pho to steak and potatoes making it one of the more eclectic and trendy you will find in Wichita. If you are looking for an upscale dining adventure this is the place to come, if you

Mmmmm Dates Wrapped in Cured Meat

Mmmmm Dates Wrapped in Cured Meat

want plain old chicken fingers look elsewhere. So many of the dishes looked great; from the Chicken and Waffles to the Duck Pad Thai, but ultimately we opted to do some tapas.

Tapas, a wonderful Spanish invention, are simply small appetizer dishes that are shared amongst the group. Usually several different tapas are enough to make a meal. Traditionally in Spain the tapas are free as long as you are ordering alcohol, unfortunately that has not caught on in the US. Taste and See has a long list of tapas options and we had difficulty narrowing it down to four. After some thought we ordered a ceviche cocktail, dates mignon, duck springrolls, and the fromaggio and prosciutto plate.

Our first dish was the eye grabbing ceviche, which came out in a martini glass. Instead of the typical tortilla chips, fried plantains were used as dipping devices. The plantains were non-greasy, had plenty of crunch, and provided a neutral base for enjoying the ceviche. The ceviche itself was a solid effort. Chickpeas added another

Meat, Cheese, and Fruit: What Else Do You Need?

Meat, Cheese, and Fruit: What Else Do You Need?

texture dimension to what was otherwise your typical ceviche with shrimp, cilantro, avocado, and lime. Next out were the Dates Mignon and at the risk of sounding blasphemous I would put them up against their beef counterparts any day. The warm and tender dates were wrapped in a sweet and salty blanket of  pancetta, goat cheese, and a balsamic glaze to create a pleasurable experience in your mouth. The fromaggio and prosciutto tray consisted of five different types of cheese, strawberries, mango, a date,  buttery toast points,  a bit of prosciutto, and sweet sauce drizzled across the plate. The cheese types consisted of feta, goat cheese, Gorgonzola, and Gouda I believe.  While each was good, I was hoping for some more exotic selections. The best combination we found was spreading goat cheese on the toast and then soaking

Duck Spring Rolls

Duck Spring Rolls

up some the syrup with the toast as well. I did wish that more than two slices of prosciutto came with the meal, but then again I can never get enough dry-cured pig. Our last tapa were the dusk spring rolls, which proved to be a nice riff on a traditional Asian treat. The thinly sliced duck went well with the crisp veggies and herbs. The peanut dipping sauce was underwhelming, but the sweet and spicy orange sauce was a great foil to the cooling spring roll.

Taste and See offers a somewhat daunting selection of upscale fusion food, but it’s nice place for people to experience new flavor combinations. The restaurant is also one of the more vegetarian and vegan friendly places in town.

Taste & See on Urbanspoon

Marrakech Cafe(Trending Now In My Stomach: Moroccan Food)

17 May

Wichita can tack on another cuisine to our diverse restaurant scene and this time it’s Moroccan. Marrakech Cafe opened up in early 2014 and specializes in food from the owner’s native Morocco. This small eatery is a bit tricky to find, as it’s tucked behind the gas station on the SW corner of 21st and Woodlawn, but your search will be rewarded with a delightful meal.

Inside Marrakech are a number of small two and four top tables, so if you have a large group pushing some tables together will be your best option. They also have a glass case full of alluring desserts, which I’m sure would be great if you can manage to save room after your meal.

Zaalouk Salad: Your Tummy Will Thank You

Zaalouk Salad: Your Tummy Will Thank You

Since it was our first visit, our waitress kindly walked us through the menu. The highlights of the small menu are the tangine dishes which feature chicken, beef, or lamb cooked with vegetables or fruit in a traditional earthenware pot called a tangine. There is also a chicken pie called a pastilla(or bastilla, depending on translation), which is a phyllo dough pie filled with chicken, onions, and eggs. There are several salads including one with roasted eggplants and tomatoes and the ubiquitous fattoush.  Rounding out the menu are some shawarma wraps. On Fridays in Morocco nearly everyone enjoys a couscous  meal and the same is true at Marrakech. Every Friday you can enjoy Moroccan couscous layered with meat and veggies.

We had a tough time deciding what to order, but after some deliberation we went with an order of Zaalouk salad, lamb tangine, and a bastilla. The “salad” was the first dish to come out and was more dip-like in nature, at least from an American perspective. Nonetheless it was pure deliciousness. The dip consisted of roasted eggplant, tomatoes, green peppers, and various spices, namely cumin. It was served cold with soft pita chips. Move over hummus because I have found Zaalouk.  Next up was the lamb

Tender Lamb Tangine

Tender Lamb Tangine

tangine, which got extra points for presentation as it came out steaming hot in the clay tangine. The waitress pulled back the cover to reveal a nice hunk of lamb shank surrounded by dates and slivered almonds. The lamb was tender and flavorful and was nice change of pace from beef and chicken dishes.  The warm dried dates added some sweetness to the dish. Soft baguette bread came with the meal and aided in soaking up some of the juices in the tangine. The final piece of our trilogy of Moroccan delights was the bastilla. The menu describes this dish as a “plate from heaven” and I would say that is not far from the truth. I could see the god of your choice putting his stamp of approval on this concoction.

Bastilla: A Plate From Heaven Indeed

Bastilla: A Plate From Heaven Indeed

The phyllo dough pie was filled with shredded chicken, scrambled eggs, onions, and various spices. Sprinkled on top of the pie was a light dusting of powdered sugar and cinnamon.  It was a sublime pie that could be enjoyed for breakfast, brunch, lunch,  dinner, or a drunken snack. While it may seem odd, the sweet and savory combination of egg, chicken, sugar, and cinnamon was disturbingly addictive.

Marrakech also has a glass cooler full of desserts that looked good, but we failed to save any room after out meal.

This was my first experience with Moroccan food, but it will not be my last. A visit on Couscous Friday is definitely in the cards. The simple and fairly healthy preparations of flavorful food are sure to appease. Just don’t go there and order a plate of hummus and a shawarma, while I’m sure they are good, you can order that stuff at nearly 42.7% of restaurants in Wichita.

 

Marrakech Cafe

6257 E. 21st.

https://www.facebook.com/marrakech.cafe

Watermark Cafe

24 Apr

What’s better than sitting down to begin a new book? How about enjoying a tasty sandwich or salad while enjoying your book? Watermark Books and Cafe, located at Oliver and Douglas,  is the place where you can make this happen. Watermark is one of the few remaining independent book stores in Wichita and perhaps some of their success can be attributed to the popular cafe that is housed inside.

The Great Expectations: Could Dickens Describe it in Less Than 500 words?

The Great Expectations: Could Dickens Describe it in Less Than 500 words?

The scope of the cafe’s offerings is impressive for a small place and includes dine-in or carryout options for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, fresh baked pastries and breads, and catering. The menu consists of various sandwiches and salads cleverly named with book titles, soups, several breakfast offerings, daily desserts, and a number of specialty drinks.

On our visit I went with the Great Expectations, a Dickinsonian delight that consisted of turkey, apricot-curry mayo, lettuce, and chopped walnuts. It was a sandwich that even Pip would have been pleased with. The apricot-curry mayo and walnuts were a nice combination that livened up this sandwich. Steph ordered the Catcher in the Rye, which included turkey, salami, swiss cheese, and sundried tomato mayo served on rye bread of course. This hearty and warm sandwich was quite tasty, although the rye bread was not as good as other versions in town. We also ordered a PB and J kids meal for our son, which in hindsight may not have been the best decision. Imagine a small child with PB covered hands and face running off into the kids section of the store. Lesson learned.

Watermark Cafe offers decent and unique sandwich and salad options for quick dining. They also get bonus points for having creative names for their menu items. In fact I took the liberty to come up with a few more suggestions for possible new items:

The Heart of Darkness: Baked tilapia, fried plantains, and mango salsa served on a whole wheat tortilla

A Christmas Carol: Thick sliced turkey, smoked gouda cheese, and a walnut cranberry pesto

The Grapes of Wrath: A mixed green salad with grapes, toasted pecans, and a buttermilk vinaigrette

 

Watermark Cafe on Urbanspoon

http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/329/1346128/restaurant/Watermark-Cafe-Wichita

2014 Lenten Special- Our Lady of Perpetual Help Meatless Mexican Meal

10 Apr

Ah Lent,  that special time of year when Catholics and some other Christian denominations must abstain from meaty goodness on Fridays. It also means that dining options can be somewhat limited if you are looking for something more than cheese pizza and salads. While many restaurants do a good job offering meatless specials during Lent, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help you can dine every Friday on a full menu of Mexican options sans meat.

Potato Tacos? Yes Please!

Who Needs Meat When You Have Potato Tacos?

This small Catholic Parish is located at 23rd and N. Market and has been serving the popular meal for years. The menu consists of cheese and onion enchiladas, potato tacos, bean tostadas, chile rellenos, and the obligatory beans and rice.  On our visit we decided to sample every item to get the full experience. The chile relleno consisted of a cheese stuffed, fried green pepper. This made for a delicious combination of flavors that I really enjoyed. The chile was rather mild as well, so those with an aversion to heat need not worry. The tostada was of the typical variety and came loaded with beans, lettuce, and cheese.

100% Lent Approved Plate

100% Lent Approved Plate

The cheese and bean enchiladas were top notch and some of the best you can get in Wichita. The tortillas were dipped in just the right amount of chile sauce to make the tortilla pliable and stuffed with plenty of cheese and onion.  The potato tacos were rather transcendent, think mashed potatoes in taco form, and were my favorite dish of the evening. Simple fried tacos were filled with a creamy potato mixture and then cheese and lettuce was heaped on top. Add a little of the homemade salsa and next thing you know you have polished off a half dozen of these guys.

The meal is served every Friday(except Good Friday) from 5 to 7:30 pm. It does attract a crowd, so the earlier the better. You also have the option of carry out in case the dining area is full. And of course you don’t have to be Catholic to enjoy this feast, as it’s open to everyone. All proceeds go to help send children from the parish to Catholic schools.

Bill’s Charcoal Grill

26 Mar

In theory the hamburger is simple, a disk of meat, a few condiments, some toppings, and a bread based cover are all that is necessary. Yet I am always surprised how restaurants find ways to screw up this pure Americana dish. The most egregious error is when restaurants opt for frozen pre-made patties and then proceed to cook the hell out of them. A burger patty should be handled with care and not require a pick axe to remove it from a frozen stack. If the aforementioned burger atrocity strikes a chord with you as well, then you will find a safe haven at Bill’s Charcoal Grill.

The Classic Cheeseburger with Sweet Potato Fries

The Classic Cheeseburger with Sweet Potato Fries

Located on the corner of 29th and Arkansas, this simple eatery knows how to make a reasonable hamburger. The new owners of Bill’s spruced up the interior and made a few minor changes, but the original concept has remained the same. Besides the typical burger options, a few pasta, seafood, and steak dishes are offered now. Side dishes include fries, sweet potato fries, O-rings, and baked beans. A condiment/topping bar is located next to the counter, so you can add all the veggies you desire. The food is reasonably priced with the basic burger and side costing around $5.

On our visit Steph tried the basic cheeseburger with sweet potato fries and I went with the exotic California burger and a side of O-rings. I was pleased and somewhat apprehensive when we were asked how we wanted the burgers cooked. Too many times I have been deceived by restaurants promising to cook burgers to order, only to discover that everything comes out well done. I know in this age of ecoli, you must be very careful when dealing with ground meat, but with proper handling and quality meat, cooking a hamburger to medium doneness is safe and acceptable.

The California in All Its Glory

The California in All Its Glory

I was quite impressed with the California burger. With the first bite I noticed that several of the qualifications for an acceptable hamburger were met; a toasted bun, plenty of melted cheese, and a juicy meat disk. Besides cheese the California comes with bacon, avocado, and a split hot link for good measure. While the hotlink was good, it provided almost too much decadence as well as grease. Next time I will order the Cali sans link. Steph’s cheeseburger  was just about all you can hope for in a basic burger. I was impressed that both of our burgers were cooked just as requested. Both the fries and onion rings were just average. The fries could have used some seasoning and the onion rings seemed like they were of the frozen variety.

Bill’s Charcoal Grill should definitely be in the discussion when the topic of best burgers in Wichita comes up. Their fresh, cooked to order patties help set them apart from many other contenders. If you happen to save room for dessert head next door to one of my favorite restaurants in town, Paleteria La Reyna for some delicious homemade ice cream.

Bill's Charcoal Grill on Urbanspoon

Death By Chocolate 2014 Review

10 Mar

This is a special guest review by my friends Andrew and Kate who attended the 2014 incarnation of Death By Chocolate last weekend:

Kate and I had the pleasure of sampling chocolaty confections at the 8th annual Death By Chocolate event at Exploration Place on Saturday night, our fourth time attending the event, and once again we were far from disappointed.  The museum hosted tables representing 15 local bakeries, candy shops, and catering companies offering a variety of treats, mostly sweet but with a few savory options to help periodically reset your palate and stave off the sugar shakes.  The delicious food, the chance to wander around a kid’s museum without those pesky kids in the way, the smooth jazz provided by the Cessna Jazz band, the chance to rub shoulders with the cream of Wichita’s crop dressed to the nine’s, all made for a marvelous Saturday night.

J. Rae's Dessert Monument

J. Rae’s Dessert Monument

Undoubtedly our favorite vendor had to be J. Rae’s Bakery.  There was nothing ground-breaking or exotic about their ingredients or technique, but there was a perfect balance of frosting and cake, the cake itself had a nice, moist consistency, and the different flavors were subtle but delicious.  My favorite was probably the Oreo, but Kate preferred the cookie dough.  They also offered a simple, and scrumptious, chocolate chip cookie that earned Kate’s overall best-in-show award.  It was in very high demand – in fact, it was an extinct species by the halfway point of the night.  Cero’s Candies was a one-trick pony, but what a trick it was, a Fleur de Sel (sea salt) bacon caramel drizzled with chocolate.  The bacon grease made the confection silky smooth with just the right hint of bacon flavor.  Artisan Catering  provided a very good cheesecake and tiramisu, along with an interesting chocolate-dipped, olive-tinged biscuit called a sable.

The vendors had their choice of “exotic” ingredients this year to incorporate into their recipes.  Most went the safe route and chose bacon, but some were more adventurous.  Cake Face Bake Shop piqued my curiosity with a cake whose frosting combined bee pollen with goat cheese, liberally sprinkled with sea salt and sugar crystals.  Those disparate flavors became muddled together and didn’t necessarily add much to each other, and I found the salt crystals overpowering.  Their best-selling hunk of a Frankenstein brownie (appropriately named the Heisenberg) was much more successful, combining peanut butter, sugar, and chocolate cookie dough with brownie batter.  The Sugar Sisters Bakery brought a menagerie of experimental treats, including chocolate cornbread with a rhubarb topping and a potato chip and bacon chocolate-chip cookie.  While the cookie was good, I thought the cornbread didn’t really come together, just a bunch of ingredients coincidentally baked together.  Bob & Luigi’s  offered a chocolate-bacon pizza.  I enjoyed the smoky flavor and lack of sticky, sugary sweetness, but Kate was not impressed, finding it too dry and not flavorful enough.  The students of the Butler Community College Culinary Arts program brought a beef tenderloin on a mini-bun with goat cheese and a chocolate aioli that worked well.  W.O.W. Cakes chose Pop Rocks as their special ingredient, giving their more-than-satisfactory cupcakes a nostalgic thrill.

Strawberry Cheese Cake and Sable Cookie from Artisan Catering

Strawberry Cheese Cake and Sable Cookie from Artisan Catering

Most of the savory options were provided by Empire Catering.  It was pretty standard fare, chips and queso, beef empanadas, and the like, but I especially enjoyed the plantain chips with avocado dip.  The chips had just the right amount of crisp with no harsh fry flavor, and the avocado dip was cool, creamy, and zesty.

Tickets for Death By Chocolate aren’t cheap, but keep in mind that it’s for a good cause:  bringing more fun exhibits to Exploration Place.  And if you do decide to attend the 2015 incarnation, wear your favorite cocktail attire, and bring your appetite.  Those rich treats fill you up quick!

Saigon Pho

1 Mar

One of the few good things about this winter dragging on is that temperatures have remained optimal for Pho consumption. A large, piping hot bowl of Pho with a little bit of chili sauce it one of my favorite ways to warm up on a frigid day. Wichita has a great Pho scene, with restaurants spread all over the city so you are never more than 10 minutes away from Vietnamese soup. Saigon Pho is a newer option that is located on Harry just East of Oliver. It is actually just a couple of buildings away from the iconic and amazing Manna Wok.

Quick Cure for a Cold Day: Beef Pho

Quick Cure for a Cold Day: Beef Pho

Like many of the businesses along this stretch of Harry, Saigon Pho doesn’t look like much from the outside, but like many good things(especially restaurants) looks are deceiving. The dining area is small inside, but there is still room for a larger group to be comfortable.

The menu covers all the basic Pho combinations, including thinly sliced steak, meatball, and tendon, and is available in medium or large bowls. In addition they also have a few appetizers, fried rice dishes, Bahn Mi, speciality soups, and a vermicelli bowl called Bun. Several of these items are offered as lunch specials as well with prices that range from $5-$6.

On our visit I was torn between the Pho and several of the unique speciality soups, which included wonton noodle, spicy beef, and crab tomato. I ultimately went with the steak and meatball Pho, while Steph decided to try the wonton noodle soup. While we waited for our food the server must have thought we needed some entertainment because she turned on one of those terrible daytime TV shows. There’s a first time for everything I guess.

The key to good Pho is all in the broth. The meat and fixings are all about the same no matter where you go. You will never hear someone praising a restaurant’s Pho because of the bean sprouts. No, all judgement lies in the

Wonton Noodle Soup

Wonton Noodle Soup

mysterious and magical beef broth. Saigon Pho’s was very good. It had a rich and complex flavor with a hint of sweetness that I really liked. The lean slices of steak were served rare and finished cooking in the broth for a nice presentation. I would rank this version of Pho right up there with My Tho and Pho Hien, two of my favorites. The wonton soup was also a delicious meal. The broth was similar to that of the Pho, but sweeter and with a strong shrimp flavor. Several tasty wontons, shrimp, and plenty of noodles were also in the soup.

I was impressed with the quality of Saigon Pho’s soup and I hope that the word gets out about what they are doing. They also have a nice website with some entertaining descriptions of the menu items.

http://saigonpho123.com/

El Mexico Cafe

15 Feb

Wichita is lucky to have numerous local options when one is craving Mexican food. Those many restaurant options can roughly be broken into two categories: traditional and Tex-Mex. At the more traditional places you will find simple tacos, tortas, rich chile sauces, chunky homemade salsa, and fresh tortillas. At Tex-Mex places you get your taco covered with cheese and lettuce, lots of ground beef,  enchiladas smothered in sauce, and more cheese. Both of them have their place and offer equally delicious fare.

The Seneca Sampler

The Seneca Sampler

El Mexico Cafe, located on Seneca just south of Pawnee, is a straight up old school Tex-Mex joint. The inside of the restaurant has plenty of seating in two dining areas, but doesn’t really have the feel of your typical Mexican restaurant. Instead of telenovelas on TV you get college basketball(which I’m not complaining about). The music being piped in was unique as well, as it was the first time I have listened to Jim Croce while eating at a Mexican restaurant.

The menu is a greatest hits of the Tex-Mex cuisine with tacos, burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, and monterreys all featured. While we decided what order, chips and two bottles of salsa were quickly brought out to us. The salsa at El Mexico is the smooth and thin variety with oregano being the dominant flavor. It was decent, but nothing all that amazing. They do sell it by the pint if it’s your cup of tea though.

On our visit we ordered the Seneca Sampler which consisted of a cheese enchilada with chile con carne, chile verde, a taco, and rice and beans. We also ordered the Mexican Plate which included two cheese enchiladas, a taco, and rice and beans. Our son got one of his favorites, a bean burrito. Despite being fairly busy, our food came out after only a short wait. The enchiladas certainly lived up

Velveeta Taco

Velveeta Taco

to their billing of being smothered. They were swimming in beefy and cheesy chile con carne. The chile based sauce was typical of what you would find at many places had good chile flavor. The enchilada itself featured plenty of melted cheese rolled into a corn tortilla.  The pork chile verde should have been called chile rojo, because it was red not green like a typical VERDE sauce should be. I’m not sure if there was some mistake or if that if how they serve their verde sauce. Color aside, it was an average dish. The chunks of pork were small and not as tender as other places, while the sauce itself  lacked the complex flavors that a chile verde should have. The fried tacos were good, but there was an inordinate amount of shredded Velveeta cheese sprinkled on top. I found substituting some the cheese for salsa helped balance out the taco. The rice and beans that came with our meal were decent, but nothing spectacular. Our son devoured about half of the bean burrito and the other half ended up on his face or the floor. I always feel bad for whoever has to bus our table at restaurants.

The service at El Mexico was some of the best I have had in quite some time. Our server was very friendly and quick to refill chips and drinks.  If you are a fan of Americanized Mexican food El Mexico can offer you a fix in a friendly and comfortable atmosphere. They also have $4.99 margarita specials and have won several Wichita Eagle Reader’s Choice awards, some of which I would beg to differ with.

Restaurante Antojitos Salvadoreno(The New Pupusa King)

28 Jan
 Pupusa Perfection

Pupusa Perfection

Pupusas, pupusas, pupusas. If you have never tried one of these delicious marvels of Salvadoran cuisine then I implore you to stop reading this nonsense at once and proceed with haste to Restaurante Antojitos Salvadoreno. Trust me it will be worth it. It is conveniently located on Central between  I-135 and Grove. Just look for the dark blue building right next to the drive thru liquor store.

Fried Plantains: A Must Try

Fried Plantains: A Must Try

While the exterior of the building looks rather dubious and the parking lot surface resembles that of the moon, inside you will find a cozy and tastefully decorated dining room. This small eatery specializes in traditional little snacks(antojitos) and beverages from El Salvador. Besides the aforementioned pupusas, Antojitos serves fried plantains, empanadas, Salvadoran style steak, tilapia, rice, beans, and some specials. Although it is a sit down restaurant there are no printed menus, so just take a glance at the posted menu by the kitchen or ask the helpful server for suggestions.

Full Flavor from a Whole Fish

Full Flavor from a Whole Fish

On our visit we of course ordered several varieties of pupusas including cheese, frijoles, chicharrones, and the “Loco”, which is a little bit of everything. An order of fried plantains was needed as well and we probably should have stopped there, but they were offering a chicken soup, so we got a bowl of that and an order of tilapia.

I’m sorry Usuluteco, but I have found a better pupusa. The difference for me was the tenderness and abundant filling of Antojitos’s. For maximum enjoyment spread some of the accompanying salsa and curtido(tangy cabbage relish) on top of the pupusa. The fried plantains were nicely done and popular with our son. They were served with a generous bowl of mayo, which was different from my other experiences with plantains, but perhaps it is customary. When they brought out the vat that was my bowl of soup I knew we had made a strategic ordering mistake. Soon after came another plate with half a chicken and rice to accompany the soup.

Tub o' Soup

Tub o’ Soup

Then Steph’s whole tilapia was presented with salad, rice and several containers of tortillas. We were buried in delicious Salvadoran food. The soup was a basic homemade chicken stock base and was filled with assorted stewed vegetables. The generous amounts of chicken and rice made it a nice balanced

Chicken and Rice for the Soup

Chicken and Rice for the Soup

dish. While Steph was  somewhat put off by the whole tilapia, I found it delicious. You forget how flavorful tilapia can be when it is served whole.  Just slap some fish and rice onto one of the provided tortillas, throw on some avocado and you have a treat. We tried two of their homemade drinks in addition to the copious amounts of food. The horchata was not as sweet as Mexican versions, but every bit as delicious and the tamarind based juice was rather refreshing.

Bottom line here folks is that Restaurante Antojitos Salvadoreno brings it. For a $1.75 a pupusa it may just be the best deal in town. The previous tenants of this building have struggled to make it, but hopefully this place can buck that trend, because it is a gem and every time a small place like this closes it leaves a scar upon my heart or something like that.

Restaurante Antojitos Salvadoreno

2117 E. Central

316-269-4090

Link to the menu: http://www.restaurant.com/restaurante-antojitos-salvadorinos-wichita-pid=200268

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