La Rumba

The Culinary Artist Formerly Known as El Boqueron (2311 Price, next to Limerick Pub) is now La Rumba, as of a couple of months ago, but the interior hasn’t changed and perhaps neither has the food. The menu still says “El Boqueron” anyway.  They advertise “Tex Mex and Latino” cuisine; I would stick with the Latino (seems to be kind of a Salvadoran-Peruvian hybrid) and skip the Tex Mex.  Cheese enchiladas are too cheesy* and red sauce is nowhere to be found. Rice’n’beans are okay, above-average for DC-area Tex Mex but below-average for realz, and not close to Uncle Julio’s Rio Grande (how can Bethesda have the least worst Tex Mex in greater DC? It seems very very wrong, but it’s the truth).

* Too cheesy is a rare complaint from me and almost impossible to achieve, but in this case the ratio of cheese-to-tortilla was at least 12:1, or worse. My arteries quivered just looking at the plate.

But!  Pupusas are fabulous, light and fluffy, good corn flavor, filling a perfect molten balance of (in my case) chorizo and cheese. A bit greasy, but hard to avoid grease when frying cheese-filled-dough. Delicious, every bit as good as reigning local pupusa leader Intipuqueño (2504 Ennalls).  Chips and salsa are also above average thanks to crisp (though I suspect not house-made) tortilla chips and flavorful salsa in the watery-with-chunks style, mostly tomato and onion but also bits of jalapeño and cilantro, mild with just a bit of fire but plenty of verve. Lomo saltado is also recommended; need to further explore the specialties menu section.

La Rumba has a bar — not sure I’d call it full, it isn’t that big, but they have the basics — and this could be a fun place to have a couple of pupusas and a couple beverages. Service can be a little slow but very friendly.  And prices are muy bajo, $1.75 for the pupusas and virtually all entrees are under $10. Some great value here.

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