Rincon Salvadoreño Asks That You Kindly Not Sit on Its Giraffe

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Photo: Daniel Maurer

Yesterday we were reminded of those wacky Curry Row restaurants with all the Christmas lights (a former tenant of the building subsequently told us she couldn’t eat Indian food for two years after living above them, so strong was the odor). Thing is, they may not be the city’s most over-the-top dining rooms. That honor may just go to Rincon Salvadoreño, a Jamaica, Queens, establishment that claims to be “el pionero” (it opened 30 years ago). A kitsch-laden Latin restaurant isn’t anything new (Rancho Jubillee in Elmhurst and especially El Basurero in Astoria are probably the wildest examples), but there’s just something about the combination of a Betty Boop statue, a baby giraffe named Victor (and a baby elephant as well), miniature mariachi-type hats, somewhat creepy stuffed dolls in traditional garb, a fish tank and a water fountain, fake coconut trees, and wooden ladybugs and parrots hanging from a drop ceiling (not to mention the cowboy nook with pink flamenco) that really does it for us, especially when Hot 97 is on the sound system. Next time you have a flight out of JFK, stop in here for a towering portion of seviche or a $1.75 pupusa filled with piping hot cheese and pork skin. In the meantime, experience this very special place via our cell-phone shots.

Rincon Salvadoreño, 9215 149th St., Jamaica; 718-526-3220