It's as if Andres Branger and Carlos Rodriguez saw the Wall Street storm approaching long before the skies opened up. Their recession-proof formula-- high-quality, from-scratch Nuevo Latino food like toasty arepas, oevrnight-cooked black beans, hearty salads and grilled marinated chicken all under the $20 mark-- was already well-established when every other restaurant in town started trimming unnecessary fat. In fact, their original South End taguarita still draws such crowds that a line is forming at their Brookline branch.

Orinoco | 477 Shawmut Ave. Boston (617-369-7075) orinocokitchen.com

The Improper Bostonian; BOSTON'S BEST issue, July 8 - 28, 2009