You must eat in a south of the border cantina at least once in your life. La Salsa
Cantina, in downtown Las Vegas, is as close as you can get to the border without leaving
Las Vegas. I have dined in some interesting Mexican cantinas, both north and south of the
border, and the atmosphere inLa Salsa is very near authentic. This restaurants designer
must have dined near or across the border many times to get this right.
Las Vegas has two La Salsa Restaurant locations. One at the Desert Passage Mall
at the Aladdin. We dined at the downtown location, just across the street from
the Fremont Street Experience, in the same shopping mall as the .
Outdoor seating is available, which would give a nice view to the Freemont
lightshow. We chose to eat inside, as it was a chilly evening.
The tables are rustic 2 x 4 planks, with a waxed aged patina, and the chairs are a
mismatched hodgepodge. The light fixtures overhead are constructed of old discarded
hubcaps and Mason jars. The walls are covered with chipped plaster, old fashioned
wallpaper, chicken wire, lathe and bricks. The ceiling is part corrugated metal and
part hand hewn beams. The floor is wood, stained concrete and Mexican saltillo (red terra cotta)
The walls are covered with beer signs, velvet paintings and shelves of cookbooks
and sauces. Vintage iron headboards are tied together with belts and string
dividing the kitchen from the dining area for servers. The piped (stereo)in Mexican music
for diners was not so much mariachi as it was loud and it did have a Latin beat. We
were near the kitchen area and the cook had his radio tuned to a Hispanic station (something sports related) so we truly had the noise to compliment our experience.
La Salsa Cantina has a specialty drink, which is a Margarita by the Yard. This
drink is a stab at competing with the theme casino bars as it is served in a 3 foot
tall souvenir glass. If you are looking for a drink to share, they also have a
Margarita for two. I choose a Margarita more in tune with the cantina atmosphere,
served over ice, nice salty rim, made with Jose Cuervo Gold. The bar has this
drink right, hands down. They also serve Negra Modelo - Dark Ale made by Corona.
This beer is a good alternative to Corona Extra when having spicy food.
The salsa is homemade, chunky and mild which is served with home fried salted corn
chips. Very Good! The table is dressed with a large variety of hot sauces,
including Cholula… our favorite.
The enchilada dish I chose was Suiza Camerones which is a combination of shrimp and
lime marinated chicken. The shrimp was plump and had been rubbed with a mixture of
spices. The enchiladas are topped with a very good green chili sauce, cheese and
sour cream. The rice was typical Mexican food fare. The beans are black (Negra)
beans, which is a nice alternative to regular refried pinto beans.
My dining companion chose the fajitas. They are served in a hot, sizzling skillet.
So much steam was bursting up from the fajita plate; we were sure the sprinklers were going to be activated.
This great dining experience was just the start of our evening.Now off to the Fremont Street Experience!