Were it not for a recommendation from Roadfood correspondent Marlene Steinberg, I likely would not have stopped at Salsas. At the street end of Cathedral Plaza Shopping Center, it looks like just another storefront Mexican restaurant, of which there are multitudes in this part of the world. But the menu tells a different story. Among a full repertoire of familiar Mexican-restaurant fare (fajitas, burritos, tacos, etc.), there is a long repertoire of intriguing fish and shrimp dishes.
It was shrimp that Marlene praised, grilled shrimp in creamy chipotle sauce in particular; and sure enough, they are wonderful. The plump pink crescents, edged with a bit of char from the grill, are so well complemented by the creamy, slightly spicy sauce that envelops them. On a plate with rice and refried beans, they’re a fantastic meal.
While lacking the excitement infused by a charcoal grill, shrimp sauteed in butter and garlic have sumptuous charm. Scattered in a taco along with shreds of cabbage, tomato, cool crema, and a couple of slices of ripe avocado, they become a Salsas best dish.
Beyond shrimp, Guanatos (“Guadalajara style”) tacos are especially good. They’re different because once they are stuffed with juicy, full-flavored shredded beef, they are grilled until their surface gets crisp and turns dark gold. The grilling is an inspired twist, and the beefy package is well-accompanied by a heap of sweet sauteed onions.
For dessert: flan served a la mode or pastel de elote (sweet corn cake) topped with creamy sauce.
Salsas is a happy little Mexican cafe with bare tables, paper napkins, and a hospitable staff who make newcomers feel right at home. The second time I stopped in, a waitress suggested a windowside table because the light would be better for the pictures she remembered I like to take.