Saltenas are similar to empanadas, but they are smaller, baked instead of fried and have a sweet and savory component. Another characteristic is that they are juicy, containing a liquidy stew inside, somewhat reminiscent of Chinese soup dumplings. A similar approach is recommend: nibble the crust, slurp some of the broth and make sure to let them cool. My dining companion burned his thumb when the broth squirted out of the pastry. The saltenas are available in beef and chicken; vegetarian ones require a special 24 hour advance order. I liked the saltenas, but the sweetness was off putting. I prefer regular empanadas; there’s no concern of 3rd degree burns.
The recent Globe review mentioned the tacos, made with flour tortillas flown in from Mexico daily. I tried the beef taco, as well as the tongue taco. The tongue was by far the superior one, as the beef was slightly tough and chewy. The tongue was meltingly tender and Mexican tortillas were great. I still think Taqueria el Amigo in Waltham has the best tacos around.
Silpancho is one of the Bolivian specialties; it was large, thin pounded slices of beef, breaded and fried served with two runny eggs, potatoes, tomatoes, and rice. Really, the best way to describe it is to say it was Bolivian chicken fried steak. The meat was somewhat tough, but I loved the runny yolk over the rice.
We also tried one of the daily specials: Fricase, a Bolivian spicy pork stew with posole and potatoes. It is the kind of dish you want on a cold winter day. This was my favorite dish; the pork was tender and flavorful.
Although there was already too much food, we shared the Sonora hotdog - a bacon wrapped hot dog topped with pinto beans, onion, tomato, mustard, mayo, and jalapeno sauce. But, I was too full to take more than a bite of my half. I thought the hot dog was fine, but the roll was quite chewy. Blackstrap BBQ does a better bacon wrapped dog.
The restaurant is tiny; it seats no more 14 people. There seemed to be a stream of take out orders. The prices are super affordable; saltenas are $2.50, tacos are $2.00 and the entrees are all under $14. The owner was the chef/waiter/busboy/cashier, so as you can imagine, service is slow, but very friendly.