Salud! Mexican Bistro and Tequileria
Blue and Yellow Corn Chips – Mole Verde, Salsa Roja, Guajillo Salsa with Roasted Garlic
Queso Fundido – Three Cheeses, Roasted Corn, Chile Poblano, Chorizo, Corn Tortillas
Carne Asada Fries – Angus Flap Steak, Queso Oaxaca, Colorado Sauce, Guacamole, Lime
Pollo Sarandeado – Chorizo-Queso Oaxaca Stuffing, Roasted Corn Pico de Gallo, Sarandeada Cream, Cilantro Rice, Black Beans
Gnocchi Mexicano – Housemade Garlic + Cilanto + Guajillo Dumplings, Guajillo Mushroom Cream Sauce, Queso Fresco
Duck Carnitas – Red Wine-Citrus Braise, Cracklings, Berry Jalapeno Chutney, Cilantro Rice, Black Beans, Corn Tortillas
Tres Leches Flan – Whipped Cream, Strawberries, Orange Caramel, Cinnamon Crumble
Churro Waffles – Cinnamon-Sugar, Whipped Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream, Cajeta
Open for just six months at the former site of Rosemary’s it seems Salud! Mexican Bistro and Tequileria has captured a following faster than many, the upscale twist on Mexican cuisine distinctive from what anyone else seems to be doing in Sin City and more-or-less comparable to the Cuisine offered at Candelas on the Bay on Coronado Island.
Toqued by Chef Israel Reyes and owned by a family of Restaurateurs, at least one of them present on-site and checking in with patrons on a regular basis during a visit on Friday, Salud promises “Food worthy of a fine dining restaurant with a casual atmosphere” and it is immediately upon entry that the later is confirmed, a Bar stocked with top-shelf Tequila lined by guests watching sports television while the dining room offers a more sedate atmosphere decorated in art made by the Chef and his staff.
Taking a modern approach to Mexican Food but still offering Tacos, Burritos and Guacamole, the former even part of an AYCE option along with Margaritas on Mondays, it was after confirming a reservation that seats were offered at a sturdy wooden four-top in the center of the room, the list of Food and Drink soon distributed by a waitress who proved efficient and pleasant throughout the evening.
Dividing the menu into several sections with prices lower than portions dictate, the sizable kitchen quick to send out complimentary Tortilla Strips flanked by three Salsas including a beautiful Guajillo version that eats like dipping Oil with a robust head of Garlic, it was after a moment’s indecision that two Appetizers and three Entrees were selected, a seemingly manageable amount of Food that in reality could have fed at least two others.
Understanding that those seeking “authentic” or “cheap” Mexican may be turned off by something that at times feels “fusion-y,” blistering Queso Fundido studded with Corn like the Koreans nonetheless exemplary with up-front heat and lingering sweetness, it was also in a humongous pile of Carne Asada Fries for just $9 that first impressions of Reyes’ cooking were formed, the hand-cut Potatoes crispy and capable of standing up to thick chunks of Beef served with white Cheese and smoky Colorado Sauce.
As usual doing plenty of research on the place before making a reservation, misspellings on the website and a Grub Hub that mirrors neither price nor scope of the offerings evidencing ownership not quite as on-the-ball as they suggest, it was only a few minutes after receiving Appetizers that a loud male server approached to inform the table that Entrees were ready, the first two plates barely half-finished and his suggestion that Food could “be left under the warmers” forcibly deemed acceptable as there was simply no room to bring them out.
Feeling rushed even though the Restaurant was less than 1/6 full, the rest of the Fundido and Fries shoveled onto share-plates, it was with plates piping-hot from lamps that the “Owner’s favorite” stuffed-Chicken was cut into next, the Cheese not as thick or prevalent as on Salud’s Facebook post from November but flavor and technique still great with juicy Bird complimented yet not overwhelmed by Chorizo and Cream Sauce.
Additionally ordering the $25 Duck Carnitas and $19 Mexican Gnocchi, both portions easily sharable but the former unfortunately a bit under flavored without the accompanying Chutney, it should be fairly obvious to anyone paying attention that the Pasta is not “light” despite being Vegetarian, three completely distinct flavors of velvety Dumplings highlighted by dark ones tinged in Guajillo Peppers, though all played well off a thick Sauce teaming with Mushrooms.
Packing up several Gnocchi plus a heap of Beans and Rice perfumed with Cilantro for home, easily enough for another diner despite everyone being quite full, it was after being presented a verbal list of sweets that two were decided upon, the Tres Leches Flan a good idea that is unfortunately compromised by bitter Citrus notes while the Churro Waffles fall short of those at CRAFTkitchen by being a bit greasy, though the Whipped Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream and Cajeta do a good job of covering up for it.
THREE AND A HALF STARS: Giving credit where it is due, a unique concept these days difficult to find on-Strip let alone in the Suburbs, Salud! Mexican Bistro and Tequileria would be well served to slow down and focus on the details when volume is low instead of trying to lure patrons in with Bingo, AYCE and Comedy Night – as Sparrow & Wolf, Other Mama and Esther’s Kitchen have shown great Food and service sells itself.
RECOMMENDED: Guajillo Salsa, Mole Verde Salsa, Queso Fundido, Carne Asada Fries, Gnocchi Mexicano.
AVOID: Tres Leches Flan should come with a warning about the Orange Zest and if not pressed for time it might be a good idea to request a bit of time between Appetizers and Entrees since the same scene was repeated at two nearby tables.
TIP: See the website for hours and menus, Social Media for events and Groupon, Yelp! or Restaurant.com for discounts.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.