BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT Minneapolis 2005 - Salsa A La Salsa Mexican Grill
1420 Nicollet Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
What a welcome sight is the Meyer lemon-yellow facade of this family-run Nicollet Avenue storefront. Yes, yes, it's a slice of warmer climes on Minnesota winter nights. And it's a pretty jolt of style in the middle of a culinarily distinguished but aesthetically challenged block. But to those of us who've become frequent visitors to Salsa a la Salsa, the vibrant wrapper also telegraphs the bright, fresh tastes offered up within. You can get a chimichanga here, but you can get a chimichanga anywhere, including TGI Friday's, and Lorenzo and Elvia Azria are capable of so much more: There's the nuanced mixiotes de pollo, a banana leaf bundled around tender chicken and fragrant herbs and avocado leaves. There's a sauce of fiery, fire-roasted chiltepin chiles (just try finding those at Penzey's), best slathered over chicken or shrimp. There are two different salmon dishes, including one in which a perfectly fresh filet is marinated in an orange-garlic vinaigrette. There are salads! There's Mexican beer, very slurpable margaritas, and a small selection of inexpensive wines (including the bargain-basement, cherry-scented, food-friendly Manyana Tempranillo) that stand up to the rich and varied tastes here. Manifest Destiny, baby.