This week the Weeklies are about the Rooster. Yesterday Brian Freedman reviewed the Happy Rooster for Philadelphia Weekly and today Drew Lazor takes a look at El Gallo Pinto, a Central American eatery in South Philadelphia.
While it’s pretty hard to go wrong here, there are two dishes you absolutely must try. Stop by on a weekend for the first, Vallecio’s rejuvenating sopa de res, where potato, carrots and greens meet fatty sections of beef tail in a bay leaf-scented broth so captivating that it’s almost at odds with its comfort-food compatriots. Then there are the Nacatamales Nicaraguense, the $4 wonder dish responsible for forever ruining the Mexican corn husk tamal for me. Order one and you’ll get a once-strung-up plantain leaf, its insides bursting out onto the plate like a delicious deleted scene fromAlien â€” fork through the creamy (thank you, lard!), light-yet-substantial yolk-yellow masa base and you’ll find bits of succulent pork, rice and tomatoes, plus whatever other add-ins the kitchen feels like tossing in that day. It’s such a satisfying, smile-inducing dish that Vallecio says her best customers tend to show up in the a.m. and order two â€” one for breakfast, one for lunch. See you in the morning.