“You’ve never been here before?” asked the eavesdropping man in the next booth.
Nope, never been here.
“Good food, good food. You’ll like it.”
He looked simultaneously thrilled for us and bereft for himself, that we had the joy of new discovery before us while he had only the memory of the first heady days of amor por El Salto.
Brooklyn Park’s El Salto has a cult following among Baltimore’s Mexicanophiles. I can’t say that I’m one of them now, but I did leave pleasantly full of chips and good cheer. It was an evening of highs and lows.
Low: Spotting the place. El Salto is a converted fast food place on Richie Highway, with all the architectural splendor that description implies. My sources tell me it used to be a Wendy’s, but as someone who purchased her car from a converted Taco Bell, I have no complaints.
High: Getting out of the car and being hit with the smell of chilies and spices and grilled meat.
Low: Coming in the door and realizing El Salto has no bar. (Converted Wendy’s. Duh.) I worried I’d hauled myself across town for no AHH-relevant reason.
High: A row of tables pushed together, populated by co-workers and a brace of empties, having an emergency post-work happy hour to bitch about their idiot boss. Totally AHH applicable.
Low: My margarita. Sufficiently alcoholic, but made with a weak mix and served in a parfait glass with table salt on the rim. I fared much better when I switched to a bottle of Modelo, garnished with a lime and a frosty beer mug.
High: Delicious, fresh chips. Subtle tomato-y salsa that was neither overly spicy or sweet.
Low: My boyfriend was late.
High: El Salto was very nice about letting a single occupy a corner booth during prime time, and apparently 6:30 to 7:30ish is prime time at El Salto, with the post-work crowd and young families having a night out and high schoolers on dates. (Good people watching? High schoolers on dates!) The crowd thinned out after 8.
Low: My boyfriend’s El Salto combo platter. Beef tips in sauce with rice and beans were pleasant but underseasoned. Granted, he’s not happy until food makes him sweat from spiciness. (I know, I know. Tardy AND sweaty? Step back ladies, he’s taken!) And I couldn’t sample it because of my Lenten vegetarianism to provide a normal person’s POV. The rice and the piping hot corn tortillas were good though.
High: My Vegetariana Quesedilla. A big quesedilla filled with cheese and deliciously spiced and char-grilled veggies. The VQ has a depth of flavor that so many vegetarian dishes lack. Very, very well done.
Low: El Salto doesn’t have a website, so I can’t link to it. But I went to the one at 5513 Richie Highway.
In conclusion, I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit El Salto, but if I found myself in the neighborhood post-Lent, I’d try the chicken chimichanga that the El Salto superfan in the next booth recommended as his personal favorite, and wash it down con mas Modelos. But it would be hard to pass on another VQ.