November 30th, 1999 NICK ZUKIN | Food Reviews & Stories
 

     
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Recently reopened, Ma Toña’s unfortunately offers an uneven experience. Nearly every dish is bland, like the cook forgot to stock salt in the kitchen. Squash, carrots, cabbage and tripe float in the complex, murky broth of the sopa de pata, along with the namesake foot and an ear of corn. But it takes nearly a teaspoon of salt to bring the flavors out. The pasty yuca frita ($8) clings to the roof of your mouth, not helped by the accompanying dry pork. Better are the pupusas ($2.25): ungreasy corn tortillas with fillings that are the only component of any dish properly seasoned. Sadly, the soggy curtido has no flavor at all, like the cabbage has been “pickled” in water. The restaurant’s best dish is the platanos ($7), golden-brown with blackened edges, with a side of beans that only needs a couple of shakes of salt.

 
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