Polleria Tres Amigos opened in Rockville three years ago as a venture among three friends from El Salvador. Today, of the three, only Alfredo Delcid still runs the restaurant, along with his wife, Maria.
The restaurant is in a strip mall anchored by a laundromat. From the outside, it looks like the kind of place you would visit only while waiting for your duds to rinse and spin. But Tres Amigos is worth a stop. It offers Salvadoran cuisine, specializing in toothsome rotisserie chicken ($10.99, whole) as well as pupusas ($1.50), corn tamales ($1.50) and baleadas, a kind of Honduran burrito ($2.95).
Sweet aromas from the rotisserie oven perfumed the restaurant as I stood in line and eyed the mound of golden, freshly roasted birds in a warmer. I ordered half a chicken, four chicken pupusas and two tamales, a feast for two for $15. Even after a 45-minute commute downtown in a foam container, the chicken's skin was still crisp. Its dark meat was juicy, smoky and succulent, but the white meat was a little dry.
On another visit, I ordered baleadas, which, in their simplest form, are corn tortillas slathered with mashed beans and drizzled with crema. The baleadas here are more complex; mine came with eggs, steak and queso blanco.
The pupusas, a Salvadoran staple, had nicely blistered exteriors. If you are grease-adverse, I recommend stopping by earlier in the day, before the pupusas collect excess grease from the griddle. Late-edition pupusas filled with chicken and cheese moistened my palms but were sinfully good.
The corn tamales (plain or with chicken) get unwrapped by the cashier, who then drizzles them with queso blanco. Mine tasted like sweet Southern cornbread.
Though it is busiest during lunch, Tres Amigos serves breakfast fare all day. The best choice is the Desayuno Salvadoreno, which includes scrambled eggs with tomato, onion and green bell pepper; a side of mashed beans; a thick chunk of salty queso fresco; a pool of queso blanco dip; fried plantains that were just a little dry but still good; and a side of corn tortillas ($5.50).
A filling meal before work, to say the least.
-Timothy R. Smith (Good to Go, Wednesday, Mrach 23, 2011)