D, M, N, R at 36th St.; R at 45th St.
67th St. to 19th St., Ft. Hamilton Pkwy. to First Ave.
Although it’s in a windowless building, Usuluteco’s eye-catching neon signs outside and mirrored interior decorated with rows of bright flags, dangling metallic butterflies and flower-topped tables evince its cheery, festive atmosphere. Several TVs are perpetually tuned to sports or soaps, but the Latin pop plays loud enough that they’re inaudible to the Spanish-speaking families who come here to enjoy the large portions of hearty Salvadoran food. Appetizers here are the size of meals elsewhere: sizzling hot fried chunks of pork and clouds of cassava drizzled with lime juice are popular, as are the Salvadoran enchiladas, which resemble Mexican tostadas—chicken, greens and beans heaped on a crisp taco shell. Pork chops, fried steak, shrimp with garlic, and meaty, steamed chiles rellenos make satisfying main dishes. The number of takeout orders mean that the food can be slow in coming at peak hours, but novices may well need the time to recover between courses.Recommended Dishes
Fried cassava with pork chunks, $7.50; Salvadoran enchiladas, $7; chiles rellenos with yellow rice and beans, $7.50