It seems everywhere you go these days (everywhere I go, anyway) theres a new Salvadoran restauarant popping up. An article in todays Newsday about the Salvadoran consulate says theres about 150,000 Salvadoran people on Long Island. I say welcome and please, please dont Americanize the wonderful food.
Here are a few places to try:
471 Grand Blvd
Deer Park, NY 11729
492 Oak Street
Copiague, NY 11726
(havent tried this one)
This place just opened at the former home of Island Spice (formerly Bigelows), which unfortunately I never got to try. I was staking this place out from the moment they started remodeling and put a sign in the window announcing a pupuseria coming soon. All three styles of pupusas are good: beans and cheese, chicharron (pork skin) and cheese, and loroco (a type of flower) and cheese. I was hestitant to use the usually cabbage accompaniament, since said cabbage was sitting in big unsealed jars on the table (same cabbage for more than one visit). Tamal de Elote, tamales of ground whole corn with cream were also good. Tacos with avocado made with marinated meat (carne asada) were good, but not nearly as good as the ones at Don Pacos, described below. I also tried the Mariscada Especial, a seafood soup served with two freshly made tortillas. The soup had mussels, clams, half a lobster, shrimp and a hunk of fish. Its also available with or without cream (I opted for cream). For some reason it reminded me of Thai food without the spiciness (there was a lot of cilantro). The seafood was all fresh, but the clams were a bit overcooked. Theres plenty of good things to drink here, too. Tamarindo (tamarind drink) and banana shake are both worth ordering. For my fellow soda hounds, this place has Mexican Coca-Cola, which if you subscribed to Jim Leffs Chow Alert (subscribe below), you would know is made with real sugar and bottled in a glass bottle. You would have also known about the following place (and many othershint, hint) mentioned in Chow Alert #14.
26 Wicks Road
Brentwood, NY 11717
In his review Jim said this place may be the Tristate areas best Salvadoran. While I unfortunately have not had the pleasure of having Salvadoran outside of Long Island, I can honestly say this place is definitely Long Islands best Salvadoran (though I really like Don Pacos for other reasons). Actually, I would go further and say this is probably some of the best tasting food of any kind on Long Island. Morazan, takes Salvadoran cuisine (and in this case cuisine applies) to a whole new level. Everything is expertly prepared and all the food has a clean and fresh taste. Pupusas are excellent and served with fresh cabbage. Theyre even better with the homemade hot sauce on the table. The tamal de elote is the standard by which all others should be judged. The shakes I tried, banana and strawberry, are absolute perfection (I want one now just thinking about it). Once I went with my girlfriend and ordered a tamarindo, she took one sip and had to have one too. On said visit, we ordered a fajita platter, since my girlfriend was nervous about trying Salvadoran (though she thoroughly enjoyed the pupusas and tamales we had for appetizers). Well the fajita was not like any Ive ever had. The fajita platter was chicken, shrimp, peppers and onions in a yummy tomato sauce. The refried beans that came with it were also exceptional and unlike any Ive had. Just go. NOW.
While Morazan is the best Salvadoran on Long Island the following place is one of my new favorite places to eat
Don Pacos Restaurant
480 Westbury Avenue
Carle Place, NY
Where Morazans food is refined and elegent, Don Pacos has hearty, rustic food. The breakfast platters are all recommended and are all some subset of eggs, rice, beans, cheese, plaintains, sausage, pork, avacado and tortilla. My personal favorite is the Bandeja special (not on the menu). Tacos de Carne Asada are listed on a handwritten sign as a special and will make you regret ever setting foot into a Taco Bell and you may very well forsake the Bell for good after you try them. One day with two hungry companions we asked our friendly waiter Whats good today? and he said, Do you like spicy? We all nodded with glistening eyes as he said Mexican steak Of course, we had to try it. We were not dissapointed by the flank stank with tomatoes, onions, and jalepenos. Im not quite sure where they came up with Mexican steak, but it was damned good (and a bargain 9 bucks and it came with a salad and beans and rice). Im sure you wont go wrong ordering any of the beef items here. Pupusas are good, too, served with fresh cabbage like at Morazan. They offer a wide variety of shakes and juices all made with fresh to order. Buy a pack of tamarind candy when you pay the bill, but be forewarned each piece has one or two pits in the middle.
For the more adventurous hounds theres a deli with that has Salvadoran food at 350 Commack Rd. in Deer Park. I had a good beef stew (takeout) and it was a real bargain at $5 for a huge portion of beef and rice and beans. Its in a mall strip of four stores including a pizza place and is hard to spot. For the even more adventurous I spotted a hole in the wall place with hardly even a sign in the window at 185 Post Avenue in Westbury, today. Unfortunately, I had just eaten a filling Chicken Kebab platter at Mediterranean Kebab House and Pizzeria (190 Post Avenue) or I would have tried some pupusas.