Kan’t Tut Tas

(MC Hammer I am not.)  Last time I visited Kantutas (2462 Ennalls), nearly two years ago, I enjoyed the pumpkin soup.  Turns out they don’t make that anymore, at least not on the day of my recent return, and I got the sense that it is rarely if ever available now.  Which is a bummer, because the dish I tried this time around wasn’t as excellent.

Kantutas' Pique Macho

Kantutas is a Bolivian hole in the wall, almost literally: it must have the least square footage of any Wheaton restaurant, smaller even than Gloria’s Island Hut.   I want to like it: the owners are superfriendly and it is the only local Bolivian eatery as far as I know, plus there’s this endearing 2009 Gazette article.  Certainly the Bolivian community knows about it: every seat was taken when I stopped by for lunch (takeout, lucky for me).  According to this story in last Saturday’s WaPo, the DC suburbs have the highest Bolivian population in the United States, and I think they all eat lunch at Kantutas.

I tried the pique macho, which is sort of salchipapas on steroids: the same melange of thick-cut fries and hot dog pieces in gravy, but adding other ingredients like a bunch of pieces of beef, hard-boiled egg, and what appeared to be an entire sliced tomato.  The wikipedias say the “macho” is because you are a macho macho man (or woman) if you can finish the entire huge portion yourself; I could have, but wisely chose not to.  The portion is indeed quite large, easily enough for two normal-sized, normal-hunger-level people, and so at $12.50 is a pretty good deal.  But while it tastes just fine and fills you right up, there isn’t anything special about it, it’s just a plate of potatoes and meats and veggies in gravy, no better and perhaps not as good as any number of lomo saltado (for example) offerings at other Wheaton restaurants.

Empanada, Pre-Detonation

I also tried a chicken empanada, which looked great, golden-brown and crisp outside, but while the filling was delicately flavorful and replete with meat, egg, and raisins, the dough surprisingly lacked flavor.  More problematic, though, was when I took my first bite the thing exploded like a savory wet Bolivian grenade. Good thing I was wearing a sweater I didn’t care about. Despite some degree of depressurization after bite one, my insufficiently cautious bite two resulted in additional shrapnel.  If there is a next time, I will bring my lobster bib, or maybe a hazmat suit. Nobody ever said dining in Wheaton’s feral culinary underbelly would be all beer and skittles…


5 responses to “Kan’t Tut Tas

  1. Great and entertaining review. I love these kind of places. What was the price? I have so much trouble prying myself away from El Pollo Rico and the other Peruvian chicken mafias, Max’s Felafels, Irenes Dirty Pupusa, Pho Hiep Hoa and Pho Saigon, Nava Thai, and Marchones on those nights that I don’t cook at home that it’s tough to risk my meals on what might be… well chopped up hotdogs on french fries. My friends, however, would go for that type of meal every time!

    Keep up the good work!

  2. I forgot to add Hung Phat/Mi La Cay

  3. and Woo Mi.. this could go on

  4. I am dying to try this place…I’ll be checking it out soon. Great review.

  5. Pingback: I’m Still Alive! « Hungry Like the Bear

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