Elkins Edition: El Gran Sabor

By Candace Nelson - 10:00 AM

El Gran SaborElkins is such a cool little town. They have a neat little arts scene, a nice brewery and some great restaurants. El Gran Sabor is an authentic Venezuelan restaurant. Elkins, West Virginia, has authentic Venezuelan food? Yep. The short version: Derdlim Masten (head chef and co-owner) came to the United States from Venezuelan to visit her cousin. She fell in love with the town, met her husband and opened the restaurant.

El Gran SaborAnd we, the people of West Virginia, are so benefitting. The restaurant was pretty busy (a good sign!), so we sat outside to wait until a table was ready. I talked with some other folks who were waiting about their favorite dishes. The "cachapa" was the crowd favorite. After a 20-minute wait or so, we were seated and looked over the menu.

El Gran SaborAnd there it was - the cachapa. The menu says it's their most popular dish. You can get a veggie cachapa, a surf 'n turf cachapa, a beef cachapa, a chicken cachapa, a cheese cachapa, a pork cachapa, or a ham and cheese cachapa. It comes with a choice of latin rice and black beans and choice of soup or salad.

El Gran SaborI ordered a pork cachapa with their shrimp squash soup. At first, I wasn't super impressed with this soup. But as I tried it more, I was able to detect some more rich flavors - almost reminded me of a curry. But pretty good.

El Gran SaborAnd the cachapa was excellent. It was tender, flavorful pork encased in a sweet corn pancake. The salty and sweet combo was so, so good. Plus there were two sauces - one that was like an herb dipping sauce and the other I loved but can't remember what it was (this is what happens when I'm so behind on posts; I started to forget). This was DELICIOUS, though. The beans and rice were meh, but the cachapa had a perfect balance of flavors. Plus the sauce was like the find touch to help it all come together.

Between the cool vibe and excellent food, this was one of the better restaurants I've had in quite some time. Even if it did start out with a bit of a wait.

Grade: A 
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