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Rivera's, Central American on Backlick Road in Springfield


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Hidden gem alert!

I have frequently passed by Rivera's without going in, meeting friends at JW's across the street or at Aabshaar right behind it. A colleague of mine, who is frugal and clips coupons, had a coupon for Rivera's and suggested we eat there for lunch today. I was impressed and will be back on numerous occasions to sample my way all over this menu and wash it all down with Central American beers.

Rivera's has a spare dining room with about 40 seats, a small bar off in the corner -- which is also where you pay your bill at the end of your meal -- and was about half full throughout a Thursday lunch service. The lunch menu featured about 20 "specials" with half priced at $6.99 and half priced at $7.99. Looking around the dining room at plates in front of other diners I knew that there would be plenty of food at either price. By the way, the dinner menu numbered over 50 dishes, and I will be sampling quite a few of them in the coming months.

I ordered the Lomo Saltado ($6.99) with beef and chicken, and what arrived was a pleasure. Nicely flavored chunks of beef and chicken were sauteed with onions and peppers, along with fries, and served next to a liberal pile of rice and beans. Aside from the usual redundant carbs, this was a dish that really caught my attention. Everything worked well together, and for $6.99 this was about as flavorful and hearty (or hardy) a dish as I've had at this price in recent memory.

The owner told me the chef was from the Guatemala - El Salvador region, and from my perspective, the cooking was clearly authentic. If anyone asks me for a Central American restaurant recommendation in the general Springfield - Lorton 'burbs, this one would be my choice. About half a mile up Backlick from El Sabor Boliviano, you could cover both Central and South America on a short walk.

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Hidden gem alert!

I have frequently passed by Rivera's without going in, meeting friends at JW's across the street or at Aabshaar right behind it. A colleague of mine, who is frugal and clips coupons, had a coupon for Rivera's and suggested we eat there for lunch today. I was impressed and will be back on numerous occasions to sample my way all over this menu and wash it all down with Central American beers.

Rivera's has a spare dining room with about 40 seats, a small bar off in the corner -- which is also where you pay your bill at the end of your meal -- and was about half full throughout a Thursday lunch service. The lunch menu featured about 20 "specials" with half priced at $6.99 and half priced at $7.99. Looking around the dining room at plates in front of other diners I knew that there would be plenty of food at either price. By the way, the dinner menu numbered over 50 dishes, and I will be sampling quite a few of them in the coming months.

I ordered the Lomo Saltado ($6.99) with beef and chicken, and what arrived was a pleasure. Nicely flavored chunks of beef and chicken were sauteed with onions and peppers, along with fries, and served next to a liberal pile of rice and beans. Aside from the usual redundant carbs, this was a dish that really caught my attention. Everything worked well together, and for $6.99 this was about as flavorful and hearty (or hardy) a dish as I've had at this price in recent memory.

The owner told me the chef was from the Guatemala - El Salvador region, and from my perspective, the cooking was clearly authentic. If anyone asks me for a Central American restaurant recommendation in the general Springfield - Lorton 'burbs, this one would be my choice. About half a mile up Backlick from El Sabor Boliviano, you could cover both Central and South America on a short walk.

We ate at Rivera's last night and will definitely be returning. It was quite late - around 830 when we arrived but there was still a small number of other diners and we got a very friendly welcome. Although tempted by many of the items on the menu I chose the Pollo a la Brasa, almost for reference....at that time of night I didn't expect it to come crispy, straight from the rotisserie, and it wasn't, but it was not at all dry, and was very nicely spiced. The yuca fries with the chicken were hot and very very crisp, the 'mixed salad' a salve for the conscience more than anything.

Trencherwoman had the shrimp soup...a huge plate that was fine once the flavor had been adjusted with salt and hot sauce. As is often the case the really memorable things were the appetizers...the tamale de elote was one of the lightest and tastiest things I have had in a long time and the pupusa with cheese was very good too. All that, four Cristal beers from Peru and a decent tip came to fifty bucks.

We'll be back.

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Another solid rendition of Lomo Saltado was had today for lunch. For $6.99 you get chicken or beef, or a combo, suateed with onions and French fries (?), alongside rice and red beans. I personally don't get the French fries, because they tend to get soggy and flaccid in the stir fry, but the dish is very good overall. The two of us ate well, along with soft drinks, for just about $20 total with tax and tip. Consider me a satisfied regular.

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I've always seen the fries mixed into the Lomo in South American versions of this dish.

Another solid rendition of Lomo Saltado was had today for lunch. For $6.99 you get chicken or beef, or a combo, suateed with onions and French fries (?), alongside rice and red beans. I personally don't get the French fries, because they tend to get soggy and flaccid in the stir fry, but the dish is very good overall. The two of us ate well, along with soft drinks, for just about $20 total with tax and tip. Consider me a satisfied regular.

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