Salsa a la Salsa
1420 Nicollet Ave.
Note: this post was written by Jim in case you think it sounds different than normal.
Who wouldn’t want Mexican on Cinco de Mayo? One of our goals when we moved up here in December was to find a good, cheap sit-down Mexican restaurant. And Salsa a la Salsa on the downtown end of Eat Street looked very inviting on a cold May day. While Salsa a la Salsa isn’t perfect it mostly fits the bill for what we are looking for and I am sure that we will go back. Before jumping into the food, I have to mention that Salsa a la Salsa takes reservations. On a busy Friday night (or Cinco de Mayo in our case) this means you get to bypass the line and the 30 minute wait and head right toward your table.
As with any good Mexican restaurant we started with the complimentary chips and salsa. After being seated, the waitress eventually delivered a very tasty green salsa and pico de gallo. The pico de gallo was not very flavorful but the green salsa was worth remembering. We both ordered your standard margarita and they were exactly what we were looking for even if they weren’t outstanding. The service throughout was slow but that wasn’t very surprising for Cinco de Mayo so I won’t hold that against them. As for the décor of the restaurant, all the tables in the restaurant are in one room and the vibe is typical for a Mexican restaurant-loud and focused more on food than decorations.
I always prefer Mexican restaurants with an a la carte option for when I don’t want a gallon of rice and beans on my plate and this was one of those days. I ordered three items off the a la carte menu: two tostadas (with grilled steak and grilled chicken) and one hard taco. Tostadas and enchiladas are my go to Mexican items so I was excited to see how they stacked up against the competition. There was nothing unique about these tostadas (a common thread in all my comments about Salsa a la Salsa) and they had the typical meat, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and onion. They were not overly greasy like bad tostadas but they could have used more flavor whether from a unique salsa, cilantro or seasoning for the meat. I can make the exact same comments about the hard taco – which is not surprising since they are nearly identical.
Jacque ordered the fish tacos and found them to be very fresh. Since this is Minnesota, the fish tacos featured walleye. There were two tacos, each served with pico de gallo and guacamole. Rice and beans were also included on the side and the rice surprisingly had some flavor to it – tasting like it was made with chicken broth or something similar. On the negative side there was very little guacamole and the beans didn’t look very appetizing. Overall, she said she would order them again.
In short, I would recommend Salsa a la Salsa to anyone looking for an above-average Mexican restaurant. There was nothing truly unique about the food but sometimes that’s okay. And to Salsa a la Salsa’s credit some of the entrees looked more unique than the a la carte items I tried. I am sure there are better Mexican restaurants in the twin cities but this one will do just fine while we continue our adventure for the perfect Mexican restaurant. With its great location, dependable food, free chips and salsa and reasonable prices (for downtown) I am sure we will be back.
RATING (out of 5 ♠♠♠♠♠)
Menu Selection: ♠♠♠ 1/2
Service: ♠ 1/2
Food Taste & Presentation: ♠♠♠
COMPLETE EXPERIENCE: ♠♠♠
Total bill, including tip: $31