With what seems to be the theme with many of The List’s places, Balompie Cafe looks no different from any other small ethnic restaurant in the mission district. It’s a little space with a counter/bar to the right as you enter, and an open dining room that has one communal table in the middle and a few small tables scattered around it. The sun shines right through the front door, basking the dining area in warmth and light. It’s definitely a place free of pretention and hurry. The type of place you can relax, drink a few beers, watch some soccer and enjoy some home cooked Salvadoran food.
Pupusas are a traditional Salvadoran dish consisting of thick homemade corn tortillas that are stuffed with a variety of different ingredients. We ordered pupusas stuffed with ground pork, jalapenos and cheese. The pupusas come with some pickled vegetables and salsa, and we ordered beans and rice as well. They also provide chips and salsa (always welcome) and we finished it all off with a couple of beers. The pupusas arrive warm to the touch, but not too hot. The tortilla is soft and thick, the cheese melted and the meat is nice and tender. The pickled vegetables are a nice contrast to the pupusas providing some crunch and vinegar to the richness of the dish. The salsa they provide is pretty killer as well. You can tell this dish is designed for sustenance not flash and it services that need perfectly. What we mean is we like this dish; the flavors are simple and plain but good. It may not be anything we will have a craving for down the line, but if you want pupusas, Balompie is as good as any place in the city.
A & K