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Loving Rosalinda's 

Honduran restaurant is cheap and delicious.

click to enlarge SUPER: Rosalinda's steak burrito is a bargain. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • SUPER: Rosalinda's steak burrito is a bargain.

It's hard to find anything not to love about Rosalinda's, the Honduran restaurant in the heart of Levy. There are about 80 items on the menu, and we adored the five we tried. The portions range from ample to huge, the prices range from dirt cheap to reasonable, the staff is friendly, the place is clean and bright, and it's open 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

Arkies who frequent authentic Mexican restaurants will find many familiar dishes at Rosalinda's — enchiladas, tamales, burritos, soups, carne asada, guacamole — but there's also yucca, plantains and a variety of pupusas. More on those in a bit.

When we arrived at 6:45 p.m. on a Tuesday, there were four tables of diners, but more streamed in soon. We were the only patrons for whom English was our first language, and in our experience that bodes well for the authenticity and quality of the fare. Our friendly waitress brought us a basket of tortilla chips and a dish of a thin salsa that was a little bit sweet and a little bit vinegary. It was more like what many might call a "taco sauce." And our Negra Modelo was icy cold.

Right behind the salsa and beer came our order of guacamole, one ripe avocado's worth, creamy, clearly freshly made with tomato, onion and lime for squeezing. We detected no cilantro. It was fabulous, and it was only $3.50! Why doesn't guacamole at fancy Mexican restaurants in midtown and out west cost just $3.50? Overhead, we guess.

Next we chose two of the pupusas: one cheese and pork, the other cheese and beans. Two thick, clearly handmade tortillas encased gooey, mild white cheese in the first and a paste-consistency combination of pork and beans with a bit less cheese in the second. They had been well-griddled. A pupusa is much like a quesadilla with better, thicker 6-inch (not tiny) tortillas. And each one costs $2. TWO DOLLARS! One could make a meal on this dish alone. They came with an interesting slaw dotted with oregano and a mild sauce. We plan to return, buy a half-dozen or so pupusas and freeze them. They should resurrect beautifully.

For our entrees, we got the second most expensive item on the menu — the $11 Sopa de Camerones con Coco (shrimp soup with coconut) — and the "super steak" burrito ($7).

The soup was rich, with a nice sheen on top and arrived in a bowl the size of a serving bowl at a family dinner. The coconut was discernable but not overwhelming. About eight shrimp swam below, and they still had their shells, though not their heads. We could think of no delicate way to eat them, so we took them out to cool and peeled by hand. The hot soup left the shrimp a little tough, and that's really the only complaint we had with our Rosalinda's experience.

The soup includes tomato, onion, peppers and avocado and is served with a small-grain rice that tasted like it had spent some time on the griddle and the same thick corn tortillas used in the pupusas.

The super steak burrito was stuffed fat. It included griddled fajita-style steak, rice, pinto beans, sour cream and onion, but it was still somewhat light despite its hefty size. Half made a meal, a $3.50 meal as it turned out. The other half was lunch the next day.

Rosalinda's is well appointed with classic cafe tables covered with plastic tablecloths with flowery borders. On the walls are a few small pieces of art and a couple of pieces of notebook paper advertising mozzarella sticks ($5.99), of all things. Some of the shades on the lights feature cars, some feature airplanes and three feature SEC teams: Arkansas, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The whole place — including the bathrooms — is clean and well kept.

We'll definitely be back to Rosalinda's — and soon. We've just barely dented the menu, and we look forward to exploring it in depth.

Rosalinda Restaurant Hondureno
900 W. 35th St.
North Little Rock
771-5559

QUICK BITE

Don't forget Rosalinda for breakfast. There are 10 choices (nine of them are $7.50) and generally include eggs, meat, beans and sour cream. Plaintains with beans and sour cream will set you back $6.

HOURS

10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

OTHER INFO

Beer only. Credit cards accepted.

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