Paseo Catracho: Get Stuffed With a Platano Frito and Pupusas

Miamians are plain ol' plantain-obsessed. We get them fried, double-fried, mashed, heaped atop our sushi -- and that just begins to describe how we roll. The stuffed version at Paseo Catracho, a Honduran restaurant at 824 SW Eighth St., takes the cake banana. For a mere $3.50, you can have the platano frito: a sweet and tender whole fried plantain stuffed with refried beans (there's a version with ground beef instead of beans, which costs $3.99) and topped with cream and shredded cheese.

The sweet relleno dish resembles a culinary canoe carrying protein and dairy in one piping-hot package. The vessel has enough sweetness to be categorized as dessert, but the filling grounds it, allowing it to be a perfect appetizer, which leaves room to try the many other specialities on the menu.

If you're in a large group or have an appetite for multiple servings, partake in the platters to sample a bit of everything. To save you some of the time and calories, the pupusas ($2.50 for one, $6.99 for three) are a highlight of the house. We chose the bean and cheese, but they can also be combined with some chicharrón in numerous permutations.

The crisp bits of cheese that oozed out and clung to the side of the pupusa were our favorite part. The traditional cabbage accompaniment was nice but not as flavorful -- i.e., fermented -- as what you'd taste at many Salvadoran restaurants. Our fork kept wandering over to the small side of pickled spicy onions, which packed the real flavor into this dish. The taste of the griddle, the simplicity of the filling, and the masa all came together in one hot stuffed-tortilla delicacy.

If you want something simple and stuffed that is sure to stuff you, these two dishes will fulfill you in multiple ways. If you want more than you can handle and a multitude of items, the combination platters are your best bet.

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