Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Honduran Deliciousness in Sherman Oaks

I've never had Honduran cuisine before so when I read a review awhile back about a Honduran restaurant, called El Katracho located in Sherman Oaks, I decided to check it out for myself. I'm just going to talk about the food itself, but if you'd like to read more about Honduran Cuisine in general, click here!

One thing to mention right away is that if you're bringing a large group who will be ordering a la carte off the menu, expect slower service. Although I made reservations for 14 ahead of time, having to wait on so many people did result in a service that while friendly and gracious, was also a little spotty. You may want to go with a smaller group or set up a pre-set menu with El Katracho to move things along a little quicker.

As my group was settling in and looking over the menu, we were served baskets of tortilla chips that weren't your standard chips and salsa combo. Instead, a light tomato/chile sauce was poured over the chips and than topped with cotija cheese. Those chips were quite tasty and a great starter.

Some people also went ahead ordered drinks while trying to decide what to order. A couple of mango margaritas, made with a fresh mango puree topped with little Honduran flags, soon came out and were enjoyed by the recipients who asked for them.

Orders were finally placed and eventually food started coming out in spurts. Now when I was reading that review earlier, one thing caught my attention and it was in reference to a street food that Hondurans are known for called baleadas. Basically, a baleada is a flour tortilla, that is folded and filled with refried mashed beans, quesillo or Parmesan cheese and sour cream. This is basically a no-frills baleada. There are baleadas that can have any number of fillings depending on your preference from eggs to sausage to hot sauce to avocado and probably much more.

I ordered a baleada as a side dish to my main entree which was a shrimp and conch soup. My baleada arrived first and I definitely enjoyed it. I enjoyed the thickness of the tortilla itself and I liked the earthiness of the beans mixed with the saltiness of the cheese and the slight sweetness of the sour cream. I could easily just have had a few of the baleadas, a margarita and called it night, but I still had a big bowl of soup coming my way.

My soup soon arrived and after my first spoonful, I was happy that I stuck around. The broth itself was made up of coconut milk and was chock full of shrimp, conch, chayote and green plantains. I have to admit to being a bit surprised at the addition of the plantains because I've never had them in soup before, but I liked how they added a meatiness to the soup without the addition of actual meat. The broth was addicting. I loved its sweetness, which went well with the sweetness of the shrimp. My only real issue with the soup was the conch. They were a little chewy, which meant that they were probably canned, but sometimes you can only work with what you have.

For me, dinner at El Katracho was a hit and I look forward to a return visit where I can check out even more of their dishes. I actually even foresee a Honduran breakfast in my near future.

To see pics, go to:

El Katracho
14838 Burbank Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91411
(818) 780-7044

El Katracho on Urbanspoon

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