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Salsa a la Salsa Uptown: Now Open and Already Better than Bone Yard

Salsa a la Salsa took over the old Bone Yard space in just a few short weeks.

Salsa a la Salsa took over the old Bone Yard space in just a few short weeks.

It's like it stepped into a phone booth, stripped off its dorky glasses and cheap blazer, and quickly donned a superhero cape. Salsa a la Salsa wasted no time at all shaking off the Bone Yard ick and elevating uptown's Hennepin Avenue stretch.

Here's hoping they can continue to pull off the trick. See also: BEST MARGARITA Minneapolis 2008 - Salsa a la Salsa

Traditionally, Salsa a la Salsa's Nicollet Avenue and Midtown Global Market locations have been frustrating studies in hit-or-miss Mexican food. It's the place you get all fired up about because it's so good, invite your friends and family, and then they look at you like you need your head examined because it's so mediocre.

And so our first bites were a study of that study.

Vegetarian tacos arrived in beautifully fragrant handmade corn tortillas (you can choose from these, or flour as well as hard shell, a blessing for large groups, when each person has a strong opinion about how tacos should rightfully be served). They were filled with nicely grilled green beans, moist squash, peppers, onions, and big creamy dollops of guacamole and decent pico de gallo.

But then an order of Devil Mary chicken wings were served tepid with a side of overly salty jalapeño cream sauce.

Interior design is easy to like: Caribbean colors peppered with sugar skulls and Day of the Dead art.

Interior design is easy to like: Caribbean colors peppered with sugar skulls and Day of the Dead art.

The interior facelift is a delight, colorful as the Caribbean and peppered with Day of the Dead charms. Dried beans and rice are embedded in the bar, which is either cool or strange or both.

Service is cheerful and kind, and the menu is a relief to behold: not stuffed with every incarnation of every Mexican dish known to man, but pared down to only about 35 items. The menu trends toward the Caribbean side of Mexico -- fried plantains, jicama salad, ceviches, and tropical salsas, and guacs -- even if it states that the recipes hail from central Mexico.

This is still a Mexican place that plays nice to the masses though, with entrees of sizzling fajitas, cheesy quesadillas, even a guacamole burger.

It might be an all-things-for-all-reasons place, but really, it's what this Uptown stretch really wants, so long as they can keep quality up and do something about the Mexican pop jacked up way too high. Maybe a jukebox is in order.

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