The Sabor of El Salvador


 Nuevo Izalco, a Salvadorian restaurant in Woodside, Queens doesn’t appear to be more than

another ethnic restaurant on the culturally rich Roosevelt Avenue, but as you step inside, it offers a cozy

atmosphere you would find anywhere in El Salvador.

You could walk past it and miss it. With all the various restaurants found near it, one could easily just go for the flashy Mexican restaurant, or the Columbian joint down the block.  As one peers through the glass window, you can see the little pops of color, and a flag of white and bright blue. Inside, there are paintings of vibrant flowered sceneries, and even a rustic Spanish roof tile on top of the cashier. Trinkets of all sorts adorn each wall, filling the room of what is Central America. Families that come from both near and far fill the wooden tables with various large plates.

There usually is no wait to be seated, and the waiter lets you decide where you would like to sit. The typical wait for food really depends on what you order, but varies from 5-15 minutes. As one waits, there are televisions playing some sort of Spanish news or variety show.

They offer your usual water and soft drinks, but also have some specialties of Central America as well. “Aguas Frescas” are juices that are made fresh from natural ingredients. These include Horchata (which is made of morro seeds, cocoa, cinnamon, and other items), Jamaica (which is made of hibiscus flower) and Tamarindo (made of Tamarind).

Now it’s time to experience the richness in flavor.

First and foremost, you have to start with appetizers. Out of the seven offered, the best choice would have to be the Salpicon with fresh corn tortillas. The mixture of shredded beef with a slight lime flavor combined with the oregano and onion creates a delicious fresh taste, combined with the warm tortillas that melt in your mouth. They also have a variety of seafood appetizers, but most exotically, a shark cocktail, or “Ceviche de Tiburon.”

There’s a wide selection of meats, seafood, or chicken to choose from, all served with warm white rice, crispy salad and fried beans. The meats have marinade sauces that are packed with

sizzling flavor and are grilled to perfection.  

The best part of all are the national dishes, or the “platos tipicos.” A “Tamal de Elote” is a deep-fried corn tamale served with cream. It is wrapped within a corn husk, so as you open it, the steam is released, containing the drool-inducing tamale. Another option is the “Atole de Elote,” a thick drink made of corn that is normally eaten with a spoon.

Last, but certainly not least, is the dish of the Salvadorian people. This dish is called a “pupusa.” Pupusas are

commonly found in Salvadorian restaurants, but are not always cooked correctly. When prepared the proper way, you should find yourself eating a scrumptious mixture of cheese, pork cracklings, or beans within a thick

handmade corn tortilla. Pupusas are served with a cabbage clow with vinegar and red chili peppers, and a tomato salsa. This is what brings most people to El Izalco Nuevo. Their pupusas are always hot, fresh, and not greasy.

El Izalco Nuevodefinitely brings Central America to New York. With its authentic flavors and its warm, homey atmosphere, it is the perfect place to go if your taste buds crave a unique Latino experience.