A moveable feast

Tomato Cocina Latina has opened in the Westgate plaza next to Earth Fare. The restaurant was, astonishingly enough, only closed for five days in order to move from its former location on Patton Avenue.

Photo by Jonathan Welch

The Latin American eatery is a local favorite for affordable Salvadoran cuisine, like the Tipico Salvadoreño, which features two eggs, black beans, avocado, cheese, crema, two house-made tortillas and plantains. That’s a mighty big bellyful for only $7. Yep. Seven bucks.

The move is certainly a good one for the restaurant, which still managed to do a pretty brisk business, despite being located in somewhat of a no-man’s land in way West Asheville.

Here’s an excerpt from the review that Xpress published in 2005:

“The Ensalada Gringo — a salad with a curious title made comical when the waitress delivered three to a trio of white guys, with the query, ‘Three gringos here?’ – was perfectly summery. The fresh greens were tossed with a delicious lemony dressing and then crowned with avocado and cherry tomatoes, but not the promised pepitos. I didn’t notice until after it was gone — and the salad was wonderful — whether the nuts made it onto the plate or not.

For our entrees, we chose the Huachinango a la Veracruzana (a red-snapper dish with tomatoes, olives and capers) and the grilled beef short ribs, that latter of which, sadly, was not in stock that evening. As a replacement, we ordered the ropa vieja, a Cuban dish of sofrito-flavored shredded beef. Both were excellent — and well worth the wait.

The ropa vieja carried a great depth of flavor, and served as it was with ripe, sweet plantains, rice and black beans, the dish was another incredible bargain at $8.50. The meat was tender and juicy, and it had a mild acidity from the bell peppers and tomato that made my mouth water for more.

The snapper was quite fresh, and was accompanied by another of the restaurant’s puffy handmade tortillas (though it arrived some time after the fish). The sauce that topped the fish was tangy with the olives and capers, and a nice complement to the flavor of the snapper. Stuffed to the gills, however, I only managed a few bites of it at the restaurant. But the next day, with its accompaniments of rice and beans, the Huachinago a la Veracruzano made a fabulous stuffing for some overgrown eightball zucchini we found lurking in the corner of our garden.”

Tomato Cocina Latina is open 7 days a week. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., dinner from 3 until 9 p.m..

Photo by Jonathan Welch.



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4 thoughts on “A moveable feast

  1. entopticon

    This is definitely one of the best restaurants in Asheville, so I hope they thrive in their new location. The food is wonderful, and the prices are great. They are one of those places that always takes the extra effort to make sure each dish is remarkable.

    I was very, very surprised to see their trademark dish, the papusa, not even mentioned in this article. On more occasions than I can count, I, my friends, or my wife has said, “I’m craving papusas, let’s go to Tomato.” They are the national Dish of El Salvador, and they are crazy addictive. They are kind of like cornmeal pancakes with various savory stuffings, served with a bright cabbage slaw and salsa. Their salsas are also exceptional.

    A few of the other dishes that I particularly like there, aside from those that are mentioned in Mackensy’s article, are:

    La trucha la plancha, which is a really tasty local trout dish.
    Patatas bravas, which are sublimely good fried potato discs served with crema.
    The fried plantains. Yum.
    The zucchini in crema is super good as well.
    Boquerones, which are deep fried sardines.
    The La Kristina, which is a vegetarian entree full of goodies.
    The seafood soup, which is rich and delicious.
    The tipico, which is an egg entree.
    The tacos are first rate.
    And the horchata is a delicious drink.

    One correction Mackensy…
    El Salvador isn’t in South America ;^)

  2. Still Impressed!

    Wow, that Pff is one funny guy! Man, is he hilarious!!!

  3. Piffy!

    No, really, impressed, you gotta try her fish taco! She serves up the freshest in town!

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