By R. H. Lannen
Almost a hidden gem, tracking down Casa Linda Salvadoran can be a challenge. Located in the Lochwood neighborhood, the restaurant is found tucked in a small space in what is called the Whiterock Marketplace. Once you do find it, however, you are in for an authentic and delicious dining experience.
Family owned and operated, Casa Linda Salvadoran serves up a myriad of authentic Salvadorian and a handful of Mexican options to choose from. The dining space is rather bare bones, only adorned by a small mural on the wall, leaving the food to speak for itself.
Pupusas are usually what first come to mind when thinking of Salvadorian food, as they are often as commonly found and widely available as tacos. I found the pupusas themselves light on the filling and heavy on the masa, leaving them thick and chewy, rather than thin and crispy.
In addition to the pupusas, I looked towards another South American staple and favorite, fried plantains. I find too often fried plantains to be sickly sweet, tasting as more of a dessert than an accompaniment to a meal; Casa Linda Salvadorian’s, however, was not. The plantains were beautifully cooked and very tender while not being overly caramelized and syrupy. They paired beautifully with the rich Salvadorian crema, giving you a sophisticated and delicious bite. My dining companion proclaimed that they could “sit there and eat these plantains all day long.”
The entrees offered mostly consist of variations on grilled flank steak and shrimp dishes. The steak was marinated well, making it very juicy and tender, despite being slightly overcooked for my taste. Served with the carne asada were yuca fries so delicious, they quickly became my favorite part of the meal. The deep-fried cassava root was golden brown on the outside, with a crust so audibly crisp, one could hear the crunch across the room. The inside, however, was tender and fluffy like a delicious bowl of mashed potatoes, which was surprising, since the fries were as thick as British chips or potato wedges. My only disappointment was that my carne asada came with only two fries, forcing me to steal one off of my partner’s plate to get another delicious bite.
The same flank steak can be found on several other dishes, including the grilled steak tacos. Much like the pupusas, the tortillas were very thick and chewy, resembling more of a flatbread than a tortilla. The tacos were more than generously filled with copious amounts of steak and caramelized onions along with a light sprinkling of fresh radish and cilantro.
As far as seafood, the Camarones en crema or shrimp tossed in house-made Salvadorian cream was my favorite choice. The shrimp were plump and tender and served coated in plenty of sauce for every bite.
Accompanying every dish on the menu are tortillas, rice and either red or black refried beans. I easily overlooked the rice, but the refried black beans were so delicious I nearly licked my plate to get every morsel. Seasoned very well, and velvety smooth, the refried black beans are worth eating an entire plate’s worth. It was not only apparent that all the food was incredibly fresh and cooked to order but prepared using quality ingredients as well, so it is hard to go wrong choosing something to enjoy, no matter what you order.
Casa Linda Salvadorian Cuisine
11255 Garland Rd., Ste 1330, Dallas, 75218
Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-9 p.m. (Tuesday 9 a.m.-4 p.m.)
Sunday: 9 a.m.- 8:30 p.m.