Donna Cooks


Ethnic Find in the ‘Burbs: La Marqueza Salvadorena
February 2, 2007, 1:10 am
Filed under: DFW Restaurant Reviews

The strip malls at the intersection of Josey and Belt Line in Carrollton are plain, generic, somewhat run-down, with lots potholes in the parking lots. Don’t come here on a first date. But these two unsightly shopping centers offer a remarkable selection in ethnic cuisine. There’s First Chinese BBQ, arguably the best and most reliable authentic Chinese food chain in DFW. There’s Viet Tofu for fresh made soy products and a small selection of deli Vietnamese varieties and half a dozen of pho places nearby. There’s a Michoacana market for your Mexican grocery needs and a couple of taquerias closeby. There’s Casa Vieja for Colombian cuisine. There’s even a place called Tasty Greek. On this last visit, I tried out La Marqueza Salvadorena, on the southeast corner of this eclectic intersection, for my first encounter with Salvadoran cuisine.

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The small restaurant (seats about 25 or 30) was 3/4 full on a late Sunday lunch. TV’s at the two ends of the restaurant was broadcasting soccer in Spanish (what else?) and most of the patrons were intently focused on the game. Wooden masks, small statues, large colorful wall murals, and three drink machines (one was horchata, didn’t recognize the other two) rounded out the rest of the decor. My companion left to use the bathroom as soon as we sat down. Lucky for him, because our waitress only spoke Spanish (at a fast pace) and right away I was having communication issues. Somewhere between “agua” and a few “si”s, we ended up with one glass of water without ice and one glass bottle of grape soda. Oh yeah, “uva” means grape, I started recalling my high school Spanish again, and the rest of the ordering process went a little smoother. I went with the Plato Tipico and my companion ordered some kind of steak (descriptions on the menu were in Spanish, but I recognized the word “bisteca.”)

Drinks, chips, a thin salsa, and a black bean dip (more like a sauce, it was thin as well) came out quickly.

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Then I remembered, oh yeah, I had “Salvadoran” food at Gloria’s once. Granted the food was whitewashed to accomodate the American palate, but the basics (black bean dip, tamales, pupusas) were still there. The black bean sauce at La Marqueza was pleasant, mildly salty but a great earthy complement to the thick but not too greasy chips. I prefer chunkier salsa so the thin salsa didn’t appeal to me, and it tasted a lot like hot sauce out of a bottle. Unfortunately, the black bean sauce was the highlight of our meal.

The Plato Tipico comes with a cheese pupusa, a chicken and potato tamale, fried plantains, fried bananas, and a spicy cole slaw-like side (less mayonnaise-y). 

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The cheese pupusa was a soft corn shell with a piping hot gooey interior, yummy.  The tamale was served lukewarm and didn’t score any points with me.  The cornmeal was a lot softer and finer than Mexican tamales, but the tamale didn’t hold its shape well due to the large cubes of potato in it.  The fried bananas were dry and little too chewey, but the fried plantains were pleasant, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside (like a good French fry). 

My companion’s steak plate is basically grilled steak covered in a tomato based sauce with onions.  The meat had a somewhat rubbery texture to it, though the sauce on top was flavorful.  The plate came with mediocre rice and beans that had a puree texture (is this a Salvadoran thing?)   

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Overall, I was disappointed in my visit to La Marqueza.  Our waitress was very friendly despite the language barrier, but I won’t be returning based on the quality of the food.  Given that I enjoyed my meal at Gloria’s, I will give Salvadoran food another try as there are apparently quite a few Salvadoran eateries in the area.  Anyone have recommendations?

Rating: 2 / 5

La Marqueza Salvadorena
1103 S Josey
Carrollton, TX 75006

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