At Wild Salsa, It Takes Tequila to Tango

Aggressive art isn't enough to debauch downtown's tame new Mexican restaurant. But the tequila selection might be.

The lamb shank is safe, cooked till it's fall-from-the-bone tender, and served alongside a poblano and roasted corn tamale the size of a baby's thigh. It's a $30 plate, though, steep for casual Mexican dining, and a price point that had me expecting something a little more refined.

I may not be the only one hoping for more. The dining room was quiet when I visited on a late weekday evening, and the bar was empty, save for the trio of women in starched white shirts, blowing off steam after a shift at the Chop House across the street. By 9 that evening, the place was empty.

A Friday night was, however, bustling. There was no wait but the place was full, with diners spilling out onto a pleasant patio outfitted with picnic tables, each separated by a large container garden of herbs. The mint out there grows like the weed that it is, and some of it makes its way into a mojito back at the bar.

Wild Salsa's open dining room sets the stage for some killer tacos.
Sara Kerens
Wild Salsa's open dining room sets the stage for some killer tacos.

Location Info

Map

Wild Salsa

1800 Main St.
Dallas, TX 75201

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Downtown & Deep Ellum

Details

Wild Salsa Tacos $2.50-$3.50 Guacamole $8-$12 Adobo Potatoes $4 Elotes Callejeros $3 Roasted Chicken $16 BBQ Shrimp $18 Lamb Shank $30

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It's here that I realized Wild Salsa's greatest utility. Many of the tables are generously sized and perfect for casual dining with larger groups. I can imagine that back patio calling to me, and same goes for that semi-outdoor dining space that flanks the front and side of the restaurant.

With an endless procession of chips and salsa, cheap tequila flights and an outstanding taco menu, Wild Salsa is a decent option for catching up with a group of friends. Drink specials run every day from 3 to 9 p.m., and while the beer list sticks to the usual suspects, the tequila selection makes up for it with more than 70 añejos, blancos and resposados, and even a couple of mezcals.

The waitstaff is exemplary. My server one night was polite, quick and knowledgeable of the menu, fielding a barrage of questions with humble but informed responses. You'd expect these service qualities at finer dining establishments, but they're a nice surprise here, where the food skews away from Texas and leans more toward Mexico, elevating the Chili's standard, but not too far. After all, the menus at Wild Salsa are still laminated — protection from those errant salsa drips from uncontrolled tortilla chips.

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