Situated in a busy Southside shopping center on S. Western, just a few doors down from one of my go-to favorites – the Mexican eatery Cocina de Mina – sets El Buen Gusto (6062 S. Western).
Although it seems like there are lots of local restaurants and food trucks with this name, this El Buen Gusto serves Salvadoran cuisine and the good-tasting happiness it entails.
A grounded, family restaurant, when I stopped by for a recent lunch visit, a young mother was both the cook and the clerk, while her pre-teen son manned the tables and brought out the orders.
Right from the beginning, before I even had a look at the menu, my lunch started with an amazing set-up: fresh chips, a hearty green salsa, and both queso and bean dips were complimentarily scattered on the table.
I was in pre-appetizer heaven!
I quickly placed my order and took a sip of the creamy horchata ($3.99). As I examined the relatively simple surroundings, Gloria Trevi played on the radio. The young woman turned up the songstress and sang along.
As the music beat along, the boy brought out my first item – the timeless Pupusa ($3.25), always a Salvadoran favorite.
I went with the Queso con Nopales variety and, of course, it was wonderful. A thickly made cake consisting of corn meal, it was stuffed with a variety of different tastes and billowed with flavor. The insides of cheese and cactus created a vibrant taste that won me over, again.
You know, a pupusa is almost better than a tortilla. Almost.
I was tempted to order and eat another fat pupusa, but for my next item, I went a different route with the Pan con Pollo ($7.99) or, in other words, the Bread and Chicken.
Much like a torta, this sandwich had all the classic parameters: cucumbers, some radishes, lettuce, and tomatoes, as well as a handful of shredded chicken.
This was an infectious, boastful sandwich! The bolillo roll is filled with pure agallas, the vegetables are a total force of nature, and that stripped meat – mmmmn – it was a full-blown attitude of chunky persuasion.
Already needing a siesta due to the two starters, I powered through for the main dish – the Salpicon ($13.99).
Consisting of a hodgepodge of minced—I believe—steak, as well as aromatic rice, thin refried beans, and a side salad, it might not look good, but it tastes incredible!
Served with a few thick tortillas, this was one of most flavorful meals I've had in a long time. The fine pellets of waiting meat, along with the bits of the rice and the salad, made for a very fresh-tasting meal, and rattled my tastebuds when wrapped inside a warm tortilla.
After enjoying a few extra bites, I threw in the towel and called for a to-go box. As another Gloria Trevi song played overhead, I reflected on my experience, and the entertaining sites, tastes, and sounds, for a few insatiable minutes longer.