Salsa Y Salsa

206 7th Ave

For the discriminating palate that enjoys the myriad flavors of Mexico ranging from the fulfilling Comida Yucateca to the complex Mole Poblano, New York frequently shocks when it comes to finding authentic regional cuisine of our southern neighbor. I... more

For the discriminating palate that enjoys the myriad flavors of Mexico ranging from the fulfilling Comida Yucateca to the complex Mole Poblano, New York frequently shocks when it comes to finding authentic regional cuisine of our southern neighbor. It was thus no surprise as to why we had assiduously avoided a smallish place on Seventh Avenue with the very gringo name of Salsa Y Salsa purely because it sounded like any one of those allegedly " href="http://www.nyc.com/restaurants/trattoria_spaghetto.54232/editorial.aspx" target="_blank"Trattoria Spaghetto or Ristorante Lasagna. In other words, file under: known quantity. Yet when a renowned member of the political chattering classes suggested on a snowy evening that the food and atmosphere at Salsa Y Salsa were worthy of our attention, we relented. We'd first enjoyed some holiday cheer at nearby Dusk, and it seemed a late-night dinner was in order. For the past 15 years, our friends from Puebla and Michoacán have populated the kitchens of every type of restaurant imaginable, ranging from French patisseries to Ethiopian restaurants such as Midtown's Queen of Sheba. Consequently, their masterful abilities to delight with both stan... more

For the discriminating palate that enjoys the myriad flavors of Mexico ranging from the fulfilling Comida Yucateca to the complex Mole Poblano, New York frequently shocks when it comes to finding authentic regional cuisine of our southern neighbor. It was thus no surprise as to why we had assiduously avoided a smallish place on Seventh Avenue with the very gringo name of Trattoria Spaghetto or Ristorante Lasagna. In other words, file under: known quantity. Yet when a renowned member of the political chattering classes suggested on a snowy evening that the food and atmosphere at Salsa Y Salsa were worthy of our attention, we relented. We'd first enjoyed some holiday cheer at nearby Dusk, and it seemed a late-night dinner was in order.

For the past 15 years, our friends from Puebla and Michoacán have populated the kitchens of every type of restaurant imaginable, ranging from French patisseries to Ethiopian restaurants such as Midtown's Queen of Sheba. Consequently, their masterful abilities to delight with both standard American crowd-pleasers as well as global dishes such as Pad Thai has resulted in a fascinating fusion of eclectic cocina. The usual staples of American Mexican restaurants—Guacamole en Molcajete, nicely mashed with chunks of tomato and onion; Chile Rellenos, stuffed with three cheeses; Pollo con Mole Negro, with a nice Oaxaqueno mole—can all be found here, along with some more exotic dishes such as Patos en Mole Tamarindo (duck in tamarind mole) and Huachinango a la Veracruzana (red snapper with cornmeal tomato sauce). You'll also find a number of unusual margaritas, such as cactus pear. Our friend the politico, a vegetarian with a rather complex palate, decided on Fajitas, but with a Southeast Asian flair. Here's where creativity comes into play: the charming hostess offered to run next door to the Regional Thai restaurant to fetch snow peas, broccoli and a few other items, something our politico assented to with "Oh, they do this all the time. You just have to ask." Some minutes later a sizzling platter with Mexican Green Rice, Black Beans, Sweet Corn Salpicon, Pico de Gallo, Sour Cream, Warmed Tortillas, and the most exotic selection of perfectly-grilled vegetables this side of Bangkok emerged. There were beautiful rounds of squash, some perfectly cooked snow peas, and florets of broccoli—something we confess to never having seen before in a Mexican restaurant.

Coming on the same day as the sad news of the closure of Jose Hurtado-Prud'homme's Greenwich Village favorite Mi Cocina, we have to admit this simple restaurant with flowery oilcloth on the tables, stencils of Hibiscus on the walls, and a few festive lights strewn here and there surprised us in rather intriguing ways. Just as you'll never know from the simple décor what complex flavors you might get in the rural Yucátan, so too does this principle apparently hold in the biggest city of El Norte.


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Chelsea Description

Salsa Y Salsa is located in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Once a mixed, low-income neighborhood on the West Side, Chelsea has become a focal point for artists and galleries. It has a wide reputation as Manhattan's gay mecca, and while that has historically been true, rising acceptance of the gay lifestyle—and soaring rents—has led to a dissipation of the community in the neighborhood. These days, Chelsea is, very simply, a bastion of affluence more than any other social status, with the conversion of many apartment buildings to condos and co-ops and the on-rush of multimillion-dollar brownstones and lofts. In the ever-northward shift of Manhattan's masses, the high prices of Greenwich Village and Christopher Street area (which has boasted a large LGBT community since the 1960s) led many to head north to Chelsea in the late 1980s. In that migration, many have already moved on from Chelsea to the northern climes of Hell's Kitchen and Washington Heights, or east to Brooklyn. While Eighth Avenue between 14th and 23rd Streets formerly had one of New York’s highest concentrations of gay-operated restaurants, stores, cafes, the population transfer changed the demographics once again—you'll find much higher concentrations in Hell's Kitchen nowadays.

The Chelsea art scene blossomed thanks to the conversion of garages and warehouses between Tenth and Twelfth Avenues, and likely will become a victim of its own success. What SoHo and the 57th Street area lost in stature has been Chelsea’s gain, and almost all the well-established flagship galleries make Chelsea their base. How did it all begin? In 1987, the Dia Center for the Arts—later known as Dia: Chelsea—became one of the pioneers in the area, establishing its main exhibition facility on West 22nd Street. Ironically, after opening its flagship museum Dia: Beacon upstate, it was left without a Manhattan presence. Plans to move down to Greenwich Village and abut the new High Line elevated park were scuttled, and the Whitney instead grabbed the valuable tract that once appealed to Dia. Of course, the High Line further increased property values, thus begetting additional high-rises between Tenth Avenue and West Street, which in turn brought in starchitects like Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvel, whose creations can be seen soaring from the earth along West Street. You can learn more about these in our new architecture of Manhattan walking tour.

While the ethnic diversity of Chelsea was once truly enviable, the neighborhood still remains one of only a few places where housing ranges from high-rise public housing projects to single-family brownstones to new glass condominiums—even on the same block! Some of Manhattan’s most affordable rent-stabilized apartments can be found between Seventh and Ninth Avenues. The historic district has some fine examples of nineteenth-century city dwellings, and small gardens and flowering trees abound. If you think the grounds of General Theological Seminary (440 West 21st Street) look familiar, that's because it is frequently functions as a set for the TV show Law & Order! Even seminaries have to make money, and thus G.T.S. (as it's known) demolished its former entrance on Ninth Avenue to make way for (what else?) luxury condominiums. At its Tenth Avenue entrance, G.T.S. created one of Manhattan's most charming niche hotels, the Desmond Tutu Center, named after the great South African archbishop.

Speaking of hotels, Chelsea has no shortage of great places to stay and to eat. On Tenth Avenue you'll find the renowned tapas of Tia Pol and its offshoot El Quinto Pino just two blocks away. There's the upscale Cookshop nearby, and further south on Tenth Avenue you'll find the Iron Chef's Morimoto at the great Chelsea Market, also home to Buddakan on the Ninth Avenue side.

Info

206 7th Ave
New York, NY 10011
(212) 929-2678

Editorial Rating

Category

Mexican

Price

$$$$$

Ambience

Casual

Payment

All Major

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