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Dec 4, 2008 07:47 PM

Pupusa Nirvana, Finally (Port Chester, NY)

So, the place I drove past on an empanada hunt a few weeks ago turned out to be golden. For lunch today I made my way back to Rinconcito Migueleño on Westchester Ave. in Port Chester. Migueleño is a Salvadoran-Guatemalan restaurant though the menu feels more of the former than the latter.

As tacos are the quality benchmark for any Mexican taqueria, pupusas are my benchmark for any Salvadoran restaurant. So I ordered two pupusas - queso con loroco and chicharrón. I threw in a chorizo taco to check out the Guatemalan side of the menu.

The pupusas were fantastic. They had a mildly crisp exterior, not tough, heavy, chewy or greasy - the usual culprits in a sub-par pupusa. The interior was soft with a strong masa flavor. The queso con loroco pupusa is comfort food at its best: a half-inch thick masa tortilla filled with hot stringy cheese punctuated with the herby loroco. The chicharrón pupusa was equally satisfying.

The vinegary slaw and tomato sauce/salsa that accompanied the pupusas were perfect too, providing the requisite sharp flavor to cut the richness of the pupusas. All in all, these were the best pupusas I’ve had anywhere around these parts - and every bit on par with the great ones I had from some of the pupuserias in San Francisco’s Mission District a few weeks ago.

Needless to say, this beats its Port Chester Salvadoran neighbors - Rinconcito Salvadoreño, El Tesoro II and Pupusa Loco - hands down.

The taco, on the other hand, was a disappointment. My favorite part about Guatemalan tacos is that they are usually made with thick, hand made tortillas. But Migueleño’s were made with standard Mexican tortillas. And while the chorizo filling is distinctly different from a Mexican chorizo, it’s just not worth going there when the pupusas are so good and you can get truly outstanding tacos only a few doors up the road.

All told, the pupusas will set you back $1.50 each, and the tacos another $2.50 each. The best bet is to get the $6.50 special, which comes with 2 pupusas, beans and plantains. That's my kind of price...

Rinconcito Migueleño
118 Westchester Avenue, Port Chester, NY

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  1. adam, can I specify the two pupusas you mention in the $6.50 special? Thank you for the picture, I can 'see' where this place is.

    Thanks for the review.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dolores

      yeah, you can choose from any of their pupusas. If I remember correctly, they are the usual suspects: queso, queso con loroco, chicharron, and frijoles. I think I may be missing one... but not sure. Anyhow, yes, it's your choice.

      I hope they are as good the second time I go. The key with pupusas is to be freshly made... they don't travel well, or hold well.

    2. Thanks so much for your trailblazing, adamclyde. I can't wait to check it out! I haven't had a pupusa in a long time.

      2 Replies
      1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

        adamclyde, I was THIS close but didn't want to eat in. And remembered your posting that takeout suffered.

        Did I blow it by not getting take out? There was a snow squall going on at the time, but there were lots of parking spaces. I bet I blew it, right, by not stopping?

        1. re: dolores

          I'm sure they'd still be good, but yeah, to get the experience of a great pupusa, they really need to be eaten there. Even great pupusas become decidedly average after a short time...

      2. hey adam, so i made it over to this place yesterday since i missed my movie and was kinda bummed. i got the special as well, and the pupusas were just right; not greasy, and the fillings (i got one bean and one loroco) were perfect. the loroco was very distinctive since they are very generous w/ it, and it complemented the bean one nicely. but i asked for some crema, and when the girl brought my check, it said $2 and i literally ate 1 tablespoon of it. now i thought that was highway robbery, and i figured it was free (or at least not that much), but boy was i wrong. i told her i would have never ordered it if i knew it costed that much, and that she should have told me. i looked on the menu, but there was no mention of it. like i told her $10 for pupusas! granted, it was the special, but that is ridiculous for 2 pupusas, rice, beans and plantains. she probably didn't understand half of what i was saying, which is another gripe i have w/ these places...they need to brush up on their english! i mean you're going to tell me they really have no non-latino customers cuz that is just sad?! also, i like at salvadorean places when they put the big vat of curtido on your table, not dole it out themselves because i use a lot of it. anyway, i would go back there given the fact that the food is really good, but i won't be getting crema next time!

        6 Replies
        1. re: unocal

          Given the area their target demographic is obviously latino. You are probably one of three gringos that have walked in there in the past month. But I agree, the waiters should speak a touch of english.

          1. re: bananarama

            man, by now you'd think everyone would be nuts for pupusas!

            1. re: unocal

              Glad you liked the pupusas. They are very good...

              it's true, no one there speaks much English at all. But it's also true that I've never seen another gringo in there. That said, I've never had a problem, and my poor broken spanish has proven to be perfectly adequate. Plus, given the english on the menu, pointing works well.

              As for the special, it's $6.50 for 2 pupusas, rice, beans, and plantains right? Even adding $2 for crema, it should have been around $8.50 (though, with tip, you are looking at $10).

              Frankly, my preference is just 3 pupusas, so I'm out of there for $5. Great, cheap lunch.

              About the curtido, I think they'll give you more if you ask for it (for free). I actually prefer that they dole out the curtido on their own, as I don't really like the thought of the prior customers fishing out curtido from the communal bowl with their used fork, which often ends up happening...

              1. re: adamclyde

                yeah i won't even bother w/ the rice n beans next time, although i do love plantains, but those were a tad too dry. i kinda of like it when they are a bit greasy to be honest w/ you, then you know they're not dry. let me ask you, who do you think has the best plantains, if you like them of course? i need to try and make them at home, cuz it can't be hard. also, can you get fish tacos in pc or what? i'm leaning towards no since that is a coastal mexican thing, but you never know...thanks for any info!

                1. re: unocal

                  no, you can't get fish tacos in PC. Actually, you really can't get fish tacos anywhere in the NY Metro area.

                  Well, let me qualify that. In a few places you can find fish tacos (tacos de pescado) around. But they AREN'T baja style fish tacos which are very different.

                  The taco truck in Stamford (El Charrito) actually sells tacos de pescado al pastor on rare occasions. They are very good. But if you want a baja style fish taco, nothing (and I really mean nothing) will fit the bill out here. I don't even try any more. Because the first 6 years I lived here I searched incessantly for them and just ended up extremely disappointed. So I wait until I go home to Los Angeles to get my fix.

                  Now, to the plantains... they are extremely easy to make at home. This is probably best for the home cooking board, but if you want the sweet style fried plantains, the key is to find plantains that are very ripe - as in black (v. tostones which are made with green plantains, sliced into discs, then flattened ala tortilla press and fried). Then you just slice them and pan fry them in a generous amount of oil and a sprinkling of salt.

                  hope that helps.

                  1. re: adamclyde

                    why is mexican food so grand? as i write this, i am in cos cob being lazy reading every port chester thread, wondering what's open there today. i have a craving for a torta sans meat though (i'm just not a big meat eater). i used to get killer ones at mexico lindo i think is the name on post road in wp, and they definitely thought i was crazy for getting a veggie torta. but oh so good! anyway, regarding fish tacos, i'm back in white plains after living in LA for a couple years (right in echo park too; such a choice spot for mexican grub!) then maine , and since most of the mexicanos are pueblan here, we won't be seeing any of that. while i didn't frequent tacos baja ensenada as much as i should have, i'd go every now and again, and man what a little slice of heaven! better than the ones i had in ensenada i thought. i do like grilled fish tacos as well, and if there were a taco shack that just did fish tacos here, it'd be a goldmine i bet! as a sidenote, i just think it's sad how i still feel like a rarity when i step into a latino place in westchester, but maybe it's just cuz i haven't been back in awhile. oh, and thanks for the heads up on the plantains; ill have to try them soon...i do loves me a plate of plantains, black beans & crema ~ yowza!

        2. Thank you for this review! I went this weekend to check it out and I loved the pupusas. I love that one town has so many different kinds of phenomenal spanish food.

          One thing that was a little difficult was that I don't speak fluent Spanish and I wanted the Chicharron pupusas but the lady was saying that they only come with cheese? Is this true?

          I had the bean and cheese which were amazing - it's all about the slaw on top. I'm already craving more!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Syphrite

            no, they definitely have chicharron that doesn't come with cheese. I don't speak fluent Spanish either... though I can usually find my way around a menu. Thankfully they have an English menu too, so sometimes I just point.

            But if they still aren't getting what you are trying to convey, you can always just tell them you want a pupusa de chicharron, sin queso. (Sin = without).