Finding worldly bites for $12 & under.
There’s a small vinyl poster serving as the only signage for Lu’s Restaurant, a four-month-old Mexican joint. Blink, and you might mistake it for the faded yet still-visible name of the previous occupant, Karaoke Idol.
The delights served inside, however, might still tempt one to break into song.
Disregard the complementary chips and salsa (which is a little too watery) in favor of a pupusa revuelta ($1.75), a thick, handmade corn tortilla filled with melted cheese and ground pork and served with a crunchy side of cabbage and carrot slaw so tangy that it’ll bite you back. The pupusa releases a cloud of welcoming steam as soon as it’s cut into, a prelude to the inevitable ooze of cheese and mildly spicy meat that follow.
It’s a filling appetizer for one person, but that shouldn’t deter you from ordering the green enchiladas filled with fall-apart shredded chicken ($9.99), which swim in a mild tomatillo-based verde sauce and come with just-right black beans and rice. The dish is homey, just the way mi madre would make it (if my mother was Mexican).
Alternatively, help yourself to a variety of tacos or the guarache lengua ($3.75), a puffed, deep-fried masa flatbread topped with chopped beef tongue, lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, pickled jalapenos and carrots. The crispy masa base provides a solid, crunchy foundation for what appears to be the Mexican version of an open-faced sandwich and the chunky beef tongue is flavorful without being overly gamy.
Don’t forget to wash everything down with a tall glass of iced horchata ($2), a rice and cinnamon drink. Lu’s adds a hint of cardomom, which makes one wonder why all horchata isn’t made this way. / Lu’s Restaurant, 7151 Lee Highway, Falls Church; 703- 533-1010
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