THE PLACE: El Paisano Taqueria y Pupuseria has two locations in Northern Nevada; I choose the Silverada Boulevard location. The restaurant, known for its pupusas, serves affordable Salvadoran and Mexican food.
THE LOOK: The restaurant receives sunlight in the afternoon from the east and out of the south in the evening. This natural light helps illuminate a dozen or so paintings that range from smaller landscapes of rural Latin communities to a large bald eagle painted on a 12-by-18-foot wall near the register. A separate dining area in the back is good for parties and events.
THE MEAL: Tacos and pupusas are advertised, so my buddy and I stick with those.
Pupusas are a Salvadoran dish consisting of cheese, pork and other ingredients filling a corn tortilla pouch. El Paisano does a nice job.
I order the No. 10 combo: two pupusas with rice and beans for $6.29. After ordering, I see the cook mold the 5-inch circular pupusas with her hands. She wears gloves and makes sure the edges are sealed before placing them on the grill.
The outside of the pupusa is crisp, the middle soft. The pork is tender and mixed very well with the cheese.
You can pick up a pupusa like a taco or use a fork. I opt for a fork and dip each bite into spicy salsa from a bar with six choices, as well as pickled cabbage.
To my taste, the pupusas are a little bland by themselves, but the salsa rescues them. À la carte, they're only $2 a pop. For big eaters, they're good appetizers.
My buddy's three pork tacos, served as a $5.99 No. 1 combo with beans and rice, are made with traditional small corn tortillas. I like that folks who order tacos are asked if they want cilantro and onions. They make the tacos much better.
KUDOS: Menu size. It offers 19 combo plates and 12 types of meat. The menu indicates Salvadoran and Mexican items. There's also breakfast and awesome drinks: fresh carrot juice and champurrado, a thick Mexican hot chocolate.
QUIBBLES: Not much here, but I would like the graffiti removed from inside the men's restroom door.
Also, the owners might take down the Pepsi clock because El Paisano serves Coca-Cola products, but that's just a personal thing.
ALTERNATIVES: Next time, I'll try the chicken tamale ($2). Also, I'm interested in the restaurant's style of sopes (the No. 8 combo for $6.29 includes two) because they often differ by region, and the restaurant incorporates both Salvadoran and Mexican influences.
RETURN TRIP?: Yes. The service was fast, and they have too many items on the menu that I want to try.