Satisfying dishes on Mexican menu


It doesn't produce the spiciest Mexican food you'll find in Baltimore or the most inventive. But, El Salto Restaurant of Brooklyn Park turns out good, solid dishes that were easy on the wallet and left me quite satisfied.

Situated on a well-traveled stretch of Ritchie Highway, El Salto occupies a former fast-food restaurant. Inside, the decor includes the requisite sombrero and oversized Mexican beer bottles, as well as a nifty painting of a primitive desert scene, complete with a hawk grabbing a snake.

The menu included several promising items that didn't seem as if they'd travel well -- huevos rancheros and fajitas, for example -- so we stuck to the basics. Our server was efficient and friendly, letting us sit in a booth and nibble on warmed tortilla chips while we waited.

A guacamole appetizer was tangy and fresh and cost $2, including a good-sized serving of chips. The chicken burritos ($5.50 for two) were made with flour tortillas stuffed with peppery pieces of shredded meat, while the enchiladas ($4.95 for three) were made with delicious corn tortillas stuffed with chicken, beef or cheese.

The No. 11 combination dinner ($6.75) was a tasty plateful: a tostaguac, which was essentially an open-faced taco made with spicy ground beef; a chile relleno, a deep-fried bell pepper stuffed with cheese and covered in tomato sauce; and a familiar and perfectly fine taco. A second combination dinner, good old No. 28 ($7.15), included a tostada -- which is also essentially an open-faced taco -- along with an enchilada and a regular taco.

Desserts made on the premises include sopapillas -- flour tortillas covered with melted butter, honey and cinnamon -- fried ice cream and flan. We tried the flan ($1.95), figuring it would travel the best. It was sweet and comforting, although the cherry, sprinkles and dollops of whipped cream seemed like lily-gilding.

El Salto has a second outlet, at 8816 Waltham Woods Road in Parkville.

El Salto

Food: * * *

Service: * * * 1/2

Waiting area: * * *

Parking: * * *

Where: 5513 Ritchie Highway, Brooklyn Park

Phone: 410-789-1621

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; noon to 10 p.m. Saturday; noon to 9 p.m. Sunday

Prices: Mexican entrees from $3.95 to $10.95; credit cards accepted

Outstanding: * * * *; Good: * * *; Fair or uneven: * *; Poor: *

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