Serviceable Salvadoran

La Molienda offers tasty Salvadoran fare-if you steer clear of seafood

While La Molienda succeeds in its meat and poultry preparations, the ancient tortilla chips should have given us a clue that not everything in the restaurant was fresh. An appetizer of coctel de concha, a sundae glass filled with chopped onions, peppers, and tiny nuggets of conch couched in an unsettlingly dark sauce, tasted as if it had been scraped off the walls of the refrigerator. The herbs within also looked as if they had endured a marathon wait, lost behind the eggs and butter, given that they were starting to disintegrate.

Fish and shellfish main courses weren't any better. The mariscada en salsa, seafood Salvadoran style, was an enormous amount of squid, shrimp, mussels, clams, and fish, all sautéed in a tomato sauce and poured over rice. Unfortunately none of it was actually edible. The bivalves were grainy with enough sand to form a hundred pearls, and rank, chewy squid, which revealed its age by its yellowed color, flavored the entire dish. Another entrée, the whole fried red snapper, was clearly fresh and sweetly fleshed. But it had been swimming in the deep fryer so long that it was practically mummified. It was too much of an effort to pry the meat off the bones, let alone swallow the pieces we managed to dislodge, which were as sharply angled as staples. Since El Salvador, like Fort Lauderdale, has an ample coastline, I'd expected more expertise here.

No-frills Salvadoran food hits Fort Lauderdale
Michael McElroy
No-frills Salvadoran food hits Fort Lauderdale

Location Info

Map

La Molienda

119 W. Oakland Park Blvd.
Wilton Manors, FL 33311

Category: Restaurant > Salvadoran

Region: Oakland Park

Details

954-564-6961. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 9 a.m. till 1 a.m. daily.
119 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale

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Dessert menus were not forthcoming. Instead the server listed sweets verbally, a challenge for the monolingual diner. You can always stick with a standby flan, but nuegados, greaseless yuca pancakes drizzled with a caramel syrup, were better than most I've tasted. If you can't communicate with the server about sweets, head for the luncheonette counter at the rear of the restaurant and grab a takeout menu -- it lists desserts that beckon an index finger. Just beware washing everything down with a cup or two of caffeinated coffee. That could send you directly to the restrooms, thus muting whatever good impressions you might have formed during the meal.

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