Amid an unprepossessing strip of tire stores and chain pizzerias, Seafood Bistro is an odd fish. The eatery's generic name as well as its anonymous-looking building does nothing to lure you in unless you happen to notice the small window signs promising pupusas and "comida Salvadoreņa."
Inside is the real deal: a jukebox full of Norteņo CDs, telenovelas constantly playing on the TV, and the smell of frying empanadas. The kitchen is run by a mother/daughter team with little English but big smiles and admirable patience with stumbling attempts at poorly recalled college Spanish. By all means try the pupusas, a house specialty. At $2 per they're a total steal, the pillowy hand-formed masa tortillas plumped with a variety of fillings: cheese, chile-scented pork and cheese, or--when available--loroco flowers, which provide a little crunch and taste sort of like a very mild broccoli . All are delicious, and don't forget to eat the curtido (pickled cabbage) that comes with 'em.
Other yummy treats here: the sweet plantain empanadas ($1.50 each) are devastating--caramelized ultraripe maduros stuffed into sweet dough, fried, and sprinkled with sugar. Think of them as fried-banana turnovers. Even plantain freaks will be sated by the platanos fritos con crema ($5.95), a vast platter of buttery plantain chunks with piquant Salvadoran sour cream for dipping. Don't settle for bottled drinks from the cold case; ask for homemade bebidas such as horchata, sevada (a sweet, pinkish barley drink), and, best of all, tart tamarindo ($1.50 each).