« Draft House | Main | Five Guys Burgers and Fries »

El Corral

Update: El Corral has closed.

In a word: Pan-Latin-American cuisine takes most comers.

The specs: #0349
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at WiSJ, Isthmus, Ruppert Food Blog.

JM ate the pescado de camarones with a lemonade.
Josh ate the Honduran steak with a lemonade.
Nichole ate the ceviche with a diet Pepsi.
Stef ate the lomo saltado with a lemonade.
The bill was about $50, or $12.50/person, plus tip.
JM gave El Corral an A; Nichole and Stef gave El Corral an A-; Josh gave El Corral a B+ (see our grading rubric).

Latest El Corral news and reviews

El Corral

Despite its hard exterior and decaying parking lot, El Corral is fairly inviting on the inside. The hand-carved chairs, while beautiful, had very hard seats. The men's room decor was odd (hint: the poster includes the words "horse" and "cowgirl"). But we had no problems with the service, which was warm, welcoming and prompt.

Lomo saltadoThe beef in Stef's lomo saltado was flavorful and not too chewy. The rice had a yummy if elusive extra flavor. As a second starch, the fries might have been homemade and were good; it's still hard to get used to the "fries under meat with rice" aesthetic that can also be seen at Inka Heritage, but this was well-executed. Stef thought, and JM concurred, that the lemonade was good. She would have tried the Inca kola, but was avoiding the possible caffeine.

Honduran steak

Josh went for the Honduran steak (which had a Spanish name on the menu that we neglected to get down correctly). The beef was overcooked but tasty, the beans and rice delicious, especially with some of the crumbly, tangy queso fresco mixed into it. The sliced avocado was better than any he'd had anywhere. He wished they offered the non-steak parts of this entree as a vegetarian option.

Pescado de camaronesSpeaking of vegetarian options, there seem to be few at El Corral, though a spinach ravioli in yellow pepper "huancaina" sauce was tempting. If the beans are lard-free, we could easily see making a meal around them.

For fish-eaters, we have to say El Corral might have out-pescado-ed El Pescador. JM's pescado de camarones, fish in shrimp sauce, was possibly the best fried fish he has ever had. It was so lightly fried, in such a crispy batter, he couldn't believe it. The shrimp- and cream-based sauce over it was rich and smoky with great undertones. The nondescript iceberg lettuce salad and side of rice were mostly useful for soaking up more of the yummy sauce.

Ceviche

Likewise the ceviche from the appetizer menu was very good, though admittedly Nichole doesn't have a lot - as in any - previous experience with ceviche. This preparation had a tangy, lemon-lime broth with a tiny hint of heat. (The server had asked how hot she wanted it, and she'd said "very," and it wasn't a roofburner, so don't be shy if you like the pepper.) A generous portion of small pieces of white fish hid under a mountain of lightly pickled onions, which Nichole dug into with relish. This seemed to please our server, who said some people push the onions aside - heresy! The sweet potato was tender and its richness grounded the dish well. On the downside, the corn was canned (a la Niblets), and some of the larger pieces of fish were tough and chewy.

We had a bad omen on the way out, however - they didn't have enough change to break both of our bills, hinting that the cash drawer's not very well stocked. So, eat at El Corral early and often if you want to eat there at all, because despite our best hopes, we worry for their longevity.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Its unreal how amazing this restaurant is. If I could eat out every night five out of seven nights of the week would be spent in El Corral. So. De. Lish. US!

The comments to this entry are closed.

NEWS

Madison Food coverInfo about our book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is here, or read it for free thanks to the library - print & ebook.


SEARCH EATING IN MADISON A TO Z

BROWSE EATING IN MADISON A TO Z
OUR FAVORITES


About Follow madisonatoz on Twitter Contact
Blogroll Ad 
Free Blog
Read our book and food tour
Dish du jour Creative Commons License subscribe to RSS Subscribe
Memo to restaurants Bloggers' Rights at EFF Quizzes
Reflections BlogWithIntegrity.com Tip jar
Banner image by Kayla Morelli, Red Wheelbarrow Design