Sabor Latino, located on Main Street right next to the
Heidelberg, is often overlooked by students, who frequent the South
University Avenue and State Street areas instead. There is actually
a second location on campus, hidden on State Street amid the
construction near Washington Street, but with a less extensive
menu. Both locations are small, homey eateries reminiscent of
family restaurants, with flags of Latin American countries on the
walls and brightly-colored paper placemats on the tables.

Upon being seated at the Main Street location, we were given a
basket of tortilla chips and an assortment of condiments that
included a tasty, medium-spicy salsa, jalapeño peppers,
fresh limes and pico de gallo. The pico de gallo contained a
pleasant mix of chopped tomatoes, onions and cilantro, but was mild
and would have tasted better with a bit of jalapeño. The
homemade tortilla chips were a little too dense for my taste,
crunchy but not crispy enough.

The server explained the menu items thoroughly and also
mentioned the daily specials, which, on this day, were a soup
consisting of pork and hominy, and beef in red sauce. Not only are
there many basic Mexican foods on the menu, such as tacos, burritos
and enchiladas, but also Puerto Rican and Cuban dishes, which are
offered on the weekends. Various meat fillings are available, such
as beef steak, marinated pork, fried pork, chicken and chorizo, as
well as vegetarian options. Menu items are available as entrees or
a la carte.

Our food arrived at the table quickly. The fajitas were still
sizzling in an iron platter and came with both corn and flour
tortillas (or one or the other upon request). The flour tortillas
were more enjoyable because of their softness; the corn tortillas,
in contrast, were denser yet more bread-like in texture. The
fajitas did not meet our expectations because the meat and
vegetables were sautéed in a sour sauce. Tamales, or
cornmeal steamed in a corn husk with pork filling, were a different
option from the standard Mexican fare.

The combination platter included a taco, burrito and enchilada,
all of which were also different from the Americanized Mexican food
that many of us are used to. The taco was surprisingly small, two
small soft flour tortillas filled with only meat and cilantro, but
it was complemented well by the condiments. The burrito contained
beans and meat, which in my case was the marinated pork—a
flavorful, tender meat in a faintly sweet, red-colored sauce. The
enchilada consisted of a corn tortilla filled with chicken, both of
which were very dry and tasteless, especially after the marinated
pork. A bit of red sauce and cheese was on the enchilada but not
enough to counter the dryness, which the salsa made more
bearable.

All of the entrees came with Spanish rice and beans. The orangey
color of the rice suggested that it would be spicy and flavorful,
but instead it was a bit bland, although of a nice fluffy texture.
The beans, available in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian
versions, were stewed to the right degree of doneness and did not
have much of a taste to them, aside from their natural bean flavor.
The entrees also included shredded lettuce, a slice of tomato and
guacamole. The guacamole, presented on the tomato slice, was a
paler shade of green than most other versions of guacamole, but it
contained many chunks of avocado and had a rich, creamy taste. Lime
juice was not very apparent in the guacamole, nor was it in the
pico de gallo, so maybe that is what the lime wedges on the side
were for.

Sabor Latino’s food is advertised as being more authentic
Latin American cuisine, but it can take some getting used to. This
can be exciting for more curious, adventurous diners, especially
when sampling the marinated pork, salsa and pico de gallo. But for
people who want melted cheese and refried beans in their Mexican
food, Taco Bell or Tios is probably a more viable option.

 

Sabor Latino

211 N. Main St.

Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight.

Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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