El Salto II
Baltimore is woefully lacking in Mexican restaurants serving big, greasy, cheese-smothered combo plates--the kind that tread the line between the authentic pupusas of upper Fells Point's burgeoning bodega scene and soulless corporate creations like Chi-Chi's that sling nacho "cheez" sauce from a can. Fortunately, there is El Salto II in Parkville. Housed, like its Brooklyn Park counterpart (El Salto I), in a former fast-food edifice, it's outside the city, but definitely worth the trip.
El Salto II boasts miles of combo plates, lardacious frijoles refritos, and a wide selection of Mexico's finest beers (skip the margaritas, they're sour-mix city) and sodas (I recommend the Jarritos tamarindo). A recent visit yielded something for every palate, from the frightened-of-spice to the jaded Tex-Mex junkie to the hard-core vegetarian. The timid should try the El Salto lunch special (served 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., $4.15), a cheese quesadilla, Spanish rice, and outstanding fresh guacamole salad. The bold can graze all over this menu, but be sure to tell the server you want yours auténtico, heat-wise (the kitchen tends to tone it down for the suburbanites). The tacos de carne azada ($7.95) are tender and savory, the enchiladas supremas ($7.15) fat and flavorful, and the thin, fierce steak ranchero with special hot sauce ($9.95) will have you scrambling for your water glass.