Bienvenidos a Los Dos: Local Restaurant Reviews

About Chef David Sterling

Benny's ****

Reviewed Friday, 5 October, 2007 Regional specialties. Open daily, 6am – 3pm. Stall No. 242627 in Mercado Lucas de Gálvez.

WATCH OUT, EL BUEN GUSTO! You have a formidable competitor! From the looks of it, Benny’s would not be a provider of high-quality regional foods. But pull up one of the rickety chairs that stick out into the aisles of the market, order from Benny’s standard menu and let your taste buds do the talking. The tiny stall is well staffed with a couple of women who master the fast-flying orders, and a man-fry-cook who rapidly and skillfully dunks things like empanadas, sopes and salbutes into and out of a vat of simmering oil. Tacos or tortas of pavo en escabeche are so savory and delicious as to leave you craving more. Relleno negro must employ the hotter of the two versions of recado negro, because my taco left a happy zing on my lips. (Don’t be scared: it’s not that hot!) Salbutes are crispy and á la minute. In short, nothing has ever disappointed me at Benny’s. How to break the tie? I suppose it would be the setting. Sitting in the market with hundreds of people brushing past can be somewhat annoying, while sitting at El Buen Gusto in Parque Santiago lets you feel like you are on vacation all over again. (Yet there is something exciting about the market, too . . . . OK, you be the judge.)

A Culinary Expedition