are requesting items ranging from South America to the Caribbean!”
he says with a note of surprise in his voice. “We’re still
working on the menu, and we might have to put out a new one
example of the three-month-old restaurant’s success is the
bandeja tipíca ($13), a Colombian feast that sports
a small, tender piece of steak, a spicy slice of chorizo,
a large, serrated bar of chicharrón (which is a fried
pork rind), avocado slices, fried plantain, white rice, pungent
beans, an arepa (which is a plump, white corn cake),
and a fried egg on top of it all.
known as bandeja paisa, it celebrates the diversity
of ingredients available in northwestern Colombia and has
been nominated as the country’s national dish.
in this dish don’t blend together in any rational way, and
that’s a large measure of its appeal. It’s dadaistic cuisine,
and the pleasure of eating it comes from the outrageous combination
of palate sensations along with a fat content that’ll make
your worst secret binge seem retrospectively cautious. Not
surprisingly, it’s quite popular.
a party of 15 in recently,” says Uzhca, “and 12 of them ordered
the bandeja tipíca.”
a storefront that formerly housed a pizza place, Salsa Latina
was extensively refurbished to give it a clean, pleasant look,
but it still retains the casual nature of its predecessor.
Seating is in booths or at tables that, like the walls, sport
few adornments. A long bar parallels one wall toward the rear,
but the restaurant, for now, lacks a liquor license. Against
the back wall there’s a display case of pastries, cookies
and other breadstuffs prepared in house.
our own bakery,” Uzhca notes proudly, “and make our own Mexican
bread along with what you see in the case. And we make custom
cakes for weddings and birthdays.”
is prompt and pleasant from a staff that knows the menu and
is happy to take the mystery out of if. Much of it is familiar,
but don’t be surprised when your fajita boasts meat
that’s been marinated enough to pick up a helpful pungency.
We sampled an order with chicken ($13.25) that emerged, as
ex pected, on a hot sizzle platter, with sides of tortillas,
sauces (pico de gallo and sour cream) and veggies.
modestly, if you wish, from the appetizers list, where nachos,
dips, quesadillas, soups and salads are priced from $3 to
$9. Black bean soup ($2.25/$4.50) is especially good, with
its complexity of flavor standing as testimony to the stock
I’m unfamiliar with arepas, the aforementioned corn
cakes, I ordered an appetizer that pairs them with cheese
($5). It’s a simple combination using stiff, aromatic white
cheese from Chihuahua.
you can enjoy a combination plate with rice and beans, and
either a beef-filled enchilada, taco, burrito, tamale, or
chile relleno. A dollar more gets you another one. Each item
is also available à la carte.
vegetarian plates are menu-listed as follows: three cheese-and-bean
enchiladas, a pair of cheese-stuffed poblanos, a burrito-enchilada
combo, a pair of burritos and a burrito-enchilada-taco threesome,
priced from $10 to $12.
makes the menu most interesting are the sections given to
house specialties, meat dishes and seafood. Salsa Latina’s
enchiladas ($11), on the specialties list, consist of three
chicken enchiladas topped with cheese and ranchero sauce.
Pollo al carbon ($14) is grilled chicken with peppers,
tomatoes and onions; it becomes pollo al limon ($13)
with lemon sauce. For gringos, there’s the Carolina Special
($14.75), a fancy moniker for chicken tenders and shrimp.
for grilled flank steak in the carne asada ($14), served
with avocado slices, pico de gallo, tortillas and more;
you can have the same meat in tacos for $12. A mixed grill
platter (pork ribs, chicken, skirt steak) is $18, and the
super-spicy chile colorado is $13.
list of seafood items includes several preparations of shrimp,
including grilled (with chicken breast, $14), in fajitas ($19),
and mixed with tilapia and garlic ($15). Fish tacos ($12)
are a must, and pescado empanizado ($15) gives you
fried fish with yellow Mexican rice.
pleased to see that the burritos supreme ($12) celebrated
a traditional approach: served one-each with chicken and beef,
guacamole and sour cream. The three Supremes also include
a pair of quesadillas ($12) and an enchilada quartet ($11.50).
that pastry case glowing at us throughout dinner, we not only
finished dinner with a dense slice of chocolate cake, but
also succumbed to taking home a half-dozen pastries. It’s
hard to find fault with a restaurant so eager to please, and—seeing
as we thoroughly enjoyed the food, pastries and service—I