El Chante Comedor Y Fritanga Nica - Nicaraguan in Wheaton

First Things First: This place is a great find for Nicaraguan food. A huge surprise in more ways than one.

There’s very little written about this place, almost nothing on Yelp. Does it even exist anymore?

The biggest surprise comes when you open the door. Despite the sign on the outside, there’s no evidence of Nicaraguan food on the inside. There is a big chalkboard that announces this place as Frank’s Burgers with a menu of designer burgers. At first I wondered what happened - did I go through the wrong door? - quickly reviewing in my mind the alterrnatives in the neighborhood.

But I asked someone - not sure if this was another customer - about the Nicaraguan food, and he proudly led me to a paper menu near the cash register. It seemed that everyone was getting burgers, but here was the gold I was after.

We ordered a carne asada bandeja, enchilada de res, tostones, chicharones, chancho asada with tortillas nica and to drink homemade concoctions of hibiscus, barley and pineapple, and dragonfruit.

The guy - he was the proprietor- presented us with a snack of enchiladitas and his onion dipping sauce. The snack was small crunchy crackers of enchilalada shell.

The enchilada de res was a new one for me - it was hard fried with a thick yet shatteringly crisp shell stuffed with shredded beef and rice. This was glorious. The tostones were smashed thin and wide, heaped with a slaw and a couple of sauces. It too was great to look at and delicious. The bandeja featured nicely spiced and grilled meat with plantain chips, slaw, rice and beans mixture, and a hefty seared slab of cheese. It was a beuatiful platter.

The chicharones were a waste for us, especially since we were already gifted with a crunchy snack. The chancho (a long cylinder of pork) was a bit tough but had a nice flavor. The tortillas were homemade all the way.

Of the drinks, the barley with pineapple was superb. The hibiscus was thick and powerful. I would not have been able to place the flavor of the dragonfruit.

Afetr we got there, more and more families came in for the Nica food. It was a small place, and always crowded with customers. The people with the burgers had every right to be jealous of what we were having.

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