March 26, 2009|By Rob Kasper

Rosa's Grill

In the west Lexington Market arcade, 400 W. Lexington St., 443-939-9143. Open 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

I was in the mood for pupusas; I just didn't know it. But after devouring a couple of these $2 morsels from Rosa's Grill in the Lexington Market, all was right with the world. These tortillas, made with masa, shaped into pancakes and stuffed with cheese and pork, were flavorful and satisfying.

I went to Rosa's to try the tamales. It is an El Salvadoran stand in what we call the "new" wing, opened in 1982 of the 227-year-old Lexington Market. The $2 corn tamal, wrapped in a banana leaf and filled with corn flavor, was well-made and sweet, a unique taste in tamales. The chicken tamal, also $2, was a little dry but had superb flavor.

Rosa's $2 tacos were puffy, handmade tortillas, stuffed with a variety of fillings. Beef tongue taco was on the menu, but there was no tongue the day I was there. Instead I ordered cubes of plain beef, served with onions, bits of tomato and a sour cream sauce. The tortilla was wonderful, but the beef was chewy, and one piece was gristly.

By far, the stars of my meal were pupusas. It was quite a show as I watched the women at Rosa's shape the dough and then cook it for eight minutes. The pupusas were served with a salad of shredded cabbage. I also asked for jalapeno sauce. I took a small taste. Wow! Talk about fire; this sauce could light a city.

The beverage menu offered an intriguing choice of juices, such as tamarind, pineapple and lemon. I had a $1.50 cup of orchata, a sweet milk drink made with rice, cinnamon and vanilla. It offered cooling relief and put out the jalapeno fire.

Rob Kasper

Best bite: : Pupusas, $2

Also tasted:: Corn tamal, $2; beef taco, $2; orchata, $1.50

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