Craving a little spice in your life? Check out Salsa, the new Tex-Mex restaurant at 16 Magothy Beach Road in Pasadena, and enjoy a modern, fun atmosphere with a variety of flavorful options.
My husband and I enjoyed Taco Tuesday recently with another couple and their daughter. We arrived at Salsa just as it opened at 11:00am and had the place to ourselves (it got a little busier as the lunchtime hour progressed). The place is new and it shows — sparkling clean and carefully arranged from top to bottom with a chic, modern Mexican vibe. There are lots of roomy leather booths, a bar with tall stools, and polished wooden tables.
We ordered fresh-brewed iced tea and sparkling waters, then dove into the menu full of diverse, delicious–looking options. The salsa bar immediately stood out to us — for $6, the entire table can help themselves to six kinds of salsa: loco salsa (hot), morita salsa (hot), chipotle salsa (hot), verde salsa (mild), mango salsa (mild), and house salsa (mild). The server gave us baskets overflowing with warm, crunchy tortilla chips and we could help ourselves to the bar. This was a great way to start the meal. There was something for everyone — the smoky morita that sets your tongue on fire, the flavor-packed, citrusy verde, or the fruity mango salsa. We also tried the Mexican corn, which included two cobs of corn cut in half and covered with chili-lime sauce, cheese and light seasoning. This appetizer did not disappoint; it didn’t have the heavy, deep-fried texture of many appetizers, but it offered a full-mouth, unique flavor combination that set the tone for an outstanding meal.
The service was not as fast as we would have expected on such a slow afternoon, but the waitress seemed new since she had to ask other servers questions about the menu items.
My husband and I split the chicken fajitas, which were served in an impressive triple-layer holder, with grilled chicken, soft onions and thick peppers on the bottom; soft, warm tortillas on the second layer; and shredded lettuce, pico de gallo and sour cream on the top layer. It tasted almost as terrific as it looked. The chicken was perfectly cooked, complete with grill marks and a nice flavor. It wasn’t as spiced as we expected, but the salsa and spices on the toppings evened it out and created a crunchy, delicious final product. Two thumbs up on the fajitas for sure!
Our dinner partners got a steak burrito and the half-price street tacos. Both were outstanding. The steak in the burrito was seared to perfection and stuffed into a large, soft burrito along with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream and fresh guacamole. It was everything I could ask for in a burrito and more.
There were eight varieties of street tacos to choose from, and the three I tried were outstanding. I recently fell in love with street tacos when I tried them off a food truck, but these tacos topped my previous experiences. I tried the chipotle chicken tacos, the garlic-lime shrimp tacos, and the slow-roasted pork tacos, and all three of them were bursting with flavor. The meat was all smoked and lightly seasoned, and the salsa that came with them complemented them perfectly. No matter what mood you’re in, you’ll find something that suits your tastes on the street tacos menu.
We were full after all this food but couldn’t say no to a deep-fried strawberry cheesecake. A thick, chewy shell covered in butter and cinnamon-sugar covered the creamy cheesecake. The whole dish was sprinkled with powdered sugar and sliced strawberries. What a sweet ending to a spicy, savory meal.
The bill for the salsa bar, the corn appetizer, five fountain beverages, three entries, a kids meal, and dessert came out to $92 before tip — a pretty good price, and with the affordable daily specials it’s possible to enjoy a nice of spice and ambiance anytime. Stop by Salsa and you’ll be a fan. I guarantee it!