The Restaurants We Can't Live Without
By Tom Fitzmorris. . . Revised April 2009
Pupuseria Divino Corazon
Gretna: 2300 Belle Chasse Hwy.. 504-368-5724. Map.
Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday.
WHY IT'S ESSENTIAL
The restaurant's name tells us that the owners a) have a devotion to the Sacred Heart and b) serve the stuffed tortillas called pupusas, the national dish of El Salvador. They serve other dishes from Central America, as well as enough Mexican food that those who are shy about trying new dishes with unfamiliar names will find something they can feel secure ordering. All of this is delicious enough to be worth investigating.
WHY IT'S GOOD
They make everything by hand here, from the pupusas themselves (which must be done that way) to the tamales and desserts. Although the many years Divino Corazon has been open has seen some of the food become a touch less ethnic, in most cases this was accompanied by the use of better ingredients. The pupusa is a hybrid of a tamale and a tortilla, made with masa corn meal into quarter-inch-thick disks with morsels of pork, cheese, and onions inside, then grilled.
Gloria Salmeron and her family are from El Salvador. They opened this place in 1989, in the other half of the building that houses their used-tire store. The tires are gone, and a post-K renovation turned the building into a comfortable, bright place to have lunch or dinner.
A large, pleasant dining room surrounds a small bar, with a smaller extra room for busy times. Its back wall continues its homage to a familiar image for Catholics: Jesus, pointing to his glowing heart crowned with thorns.
Pasteles de carne (small meat pies).
Faro del Pacifico (combination plate).
Yuca with fried pork cracklins and cabbage.
Carne asada (thin steak with tortillas and pico de gallo).
Tamal de elote con creme (a sweet tamale with corn and sour cream).
FOR BEST RESULTS
On the first visit, have the faro del Pacifico platter, a good sampling of the Pupuseria's specialties. It includes pupusa, a chicken-and-potato-filled tamal wrapped in a banana leaf, and a pastel de carne (a small fried meat pie). Every part of this is delicious, and classic Central American eating. More adventuresome eaters should look into the specials, which are always good and often very unusual.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
They food comes a little more rapidly than I would like.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
© 2009 Tom Fitzmorris. All rights reserved. email@example.com