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Restaurants & Bars

Guapo's in Manassas Park

Lee | Feb 5, 2005 06:08 PM

The location isn't exactly astounding; the other corners of Rte. 28 and Manassas Rd. have two gas stations and a used car lot. The restaurant itself looks like a glass box practically flush to the sidewalk. But when you drive by, you can smell the most amazing smell of open fire barbecue. It propelled me into a U-turn and right into the place. Inside, there are plants everywhere, especially on the ceiling with intertwined vines. Spanish music and a not-too-loud TV are playing. Almost everyone is speaking Spanish (the staff speaks fluent English also). The decor is very basic, but there are plenty of bright interesting things hanging on the walls to look at. And then there is the food.....

They didn't have an open flame pit up in front like in Central American restaurants (I guess the board of health said it was too dangerous), but they have one in the back and everything smells great. I had the best ribs I have had in a long time. The cut was unusual in that the fat was inside two layers of meat, flavoring and tenderizing them, but then was easily removed with a fork. The top meat was flaky like brisket, and the bottom had the rib bones. My guess on the cooking method was that they used a dry rub before marinating the meat. The outside of the meat had a thin crust of spices. The meat was so tender that it fell off the bones. It was fabulous. My son had steak, and that was good too. I strongly recommend the yucca over the potatoes. It was crunchy and delicious.

Also on the menu was chicken (also cooked on the grill), plus enchiladas, burritos and tacos. I saw what looked like fresh flan and alfajores (two cookies with a sweet filling between them). There were three types of fresh juices (I had tamarind), plus Inka Kola and various beers. According to their website (www.guaposrestaurant.com/), they have five other locations in the area.

I definitely plan to go back.

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