El Rincon Salvadoreno668 Greenbrae Dr.
Sparks, NV 89431
It might as well not be there, it’s so hard to find. Within the Greenbrae Shopping Center is a tiny little restaurant that boasts authentic Salvadoran and Mexican cuisine. My husband and I wanted to try it one night after a long day at work. After such a day, a drink was in order. After that, we called the restaurant to make sure they were open.
“Until 8,” the voice at the other end said.
We left right away to give ourselves plenty of time. But with the rain and the darkness it took us longer to find than we expected. However, when we finally pulled up—about 20 minutes before 8—the lights were dim, and the sign said “closed.” I was bold enough to take a peek inside and then to knock. We were very hungry by this time and in need of something hot and filling.
The lady inside opened the door and told us she was sorry, but since it was a Monday night, and traffic was slow, she had closed early. This is when I began to plead.
She was kind and said we could have our food to go. Knowing that our larder was empty, this sounded fine with us—anything, as long as we got some dinner. We entered a small but not cramped dining room and were offered two menus and some chips and salsa while we waited.
El Rincon offers Salvadoran and Mexican food, everything from pupusa (corn tortilla with cheese and loroco, a Salvadoran vegetable, $1.69) to bistek encebollado (marinated beef served with rice, beans and salad, $10.99) to camarones a la diabla (shrimp with red spicy sauce, $10.99), which is what I had. My husband chose the shrimp fajitas ($10.99). We talked about also getting the fried fish ($10.99), but thought better of it. Such food is rarely as good the next day, and we knew, as hungry as we were, that our bellies had their limits.
The chips and salsa were, well, industrial. Everything tasted like it came out of a bag or jar. The service, though, was friendly, and the woman apologized numerous times for closing early. Still, it is worth noting that we weren’t invited to stay and eat, even though the kitchen was obviously not yet closed.
It might seem like dining at a restaurant after they posted their “closed” sign isn’t the way to have a fair or representational meal for a review. However, we did call in advance to find out how late they’d be open, and we were surprised that, even after our call, they closed early.
We sat and admired the décor. The place is simple; clean tablecloths adorn the tables and dried chilies hang from the ceiling. There are a few posters on the wall as well as a T-shirt displaying the restaurant’s name. It is uncluttered and a fine, cozy place for a quick meal.
Our meals were a bit disappointing. Those too tasted as if the bulk of ingredients had been purchased in cans down the road at the local supermarket. The shrimp were good and the servings weren’t stingy, but my husband’s fajitas were rather bland, so much so that he had to spice them up with my diablo sauce, which gave a good kick. We weren’t able to finish and put the rest away for a midnight snack, but by midnight other things sounded better.
All in all, El Rincon is a good deal if you are in the area and want something akin to Mexican fast food. The portions were generous and the service friendly and quick. And they offer the usual: burritos ($7.99), tacos ($7.99) and even something called sopa de patas (described as a “delicious” stew cooked with corn cassava, cabbage and green beans, $7.99).
While I prefer to make my own judgments as to whether something is delicious, it might be worth your while. That is, if you’re in the neighborhood and arrive at a decent hour. Otherwise, head to a grocery store and buy your own fixings.