By Kathryne Grisim (@foodmuser)
When Mercadito Latino was on Henderson Highway I would drive by and wonder about its offerings inside. Unfortunately, I never had an excuse to go in. Three years ago the Mercadito relocated to 570 C Sargent Avenue and was able to add more dining space. I’m guessing that is when it became a full-blown restaurant.
The structure of the business is very much like the places that we love to visit in Mexico with the wife in the kitchen lovingly recreating her family recipes and her husband up front serving the tables and manning the cash register. We were introduced to Sonia Lemus when she finally had an opportunity to sit down at the end of her evening. She was as good-natured and pleasant as her husband Julian. Together they own and operate the market and restaurant.
In keeping with our other Latin restaurant experiences, the food came out quickly and steaming hot. You could taste that all the concoctions had been freshly made.
We were delighted by the tortilla soup that we shared. Dotted with pieces of silky avocado, gooey cheese, pulled chicken, crispy tortilla strips and sour cream, it warmed us up nicely. I would have loved a lime wedge to squeeze into the broth like we do when travelling.
When the pupusas arrived at our table, Julian asked us if we were familiar with them. We responded yes based only on the one other opportunity to eat Salvadorian food in Winnipeg at La Fiesta Cafecito. We requested “Revueltas,” which means we enjoyed cheese, beans and pork in all three corn flour pockets. I pressed for more detail about the cheese used. Julian replied that it was a blend of a Salvadorian cheese, feta and mozzarella.
We were full by this time and still had chicken tacos coming to the table. If you think that tacos are always the Old El Paso style, you would be mistaken. Soft corn tortillas are eaten at almost every meal as a way of scooping up the fare. We had to at least have a bite and appreciated the subtle spiciness of the chicken and peppers inside the soft corn taco. My bite resulted in juices bursting out of the wrap and onto my plate (the sign of a very delicious taco).
The restaurant has an all-day menu available. They are open Tuesday to Saturdays from noon until 8:30 p.m. and are wheelchair accessible.
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