Wild Salsa: Hate the Sign, Love the Food

Downtown’s pretty exciting right now. First, Dirt opened on Monday (adorable store, go visit). Then, last night, Wild Salsa opened. And, according to a conversation I had with the manager at Pho Colonial, their downtown location will open in two weeks.

My husband and I have been watching Wild Salsa be built for the past few months, so we decided that even if there was a wait, we were going to try it out. Turns out, there was no wait.

The exterior of the place confused me. Someone said the sign looks like it belongs to a tattoo parlor. I agree. And then they put up a big Day of the Dead mural next to the gorgeous doors. So I was a bit more confused. To the right of all that, you can see into the kitchen. And you can also see that the windows are to be opened. That’s because they’re going to serve tacos from those windows and have seating available outside (and dog treats for those with furry friends).

Okay. So they’re starting to win me over.

I liked the interior. Again, the whole theme is Day of the Dead, and there’s a lot of dark wood on the walls, a few TVs, and some beads. I really enjoyed the whole ambiance. The staff was great. One hostess took all the guests around on a tour of the restaurant. There were no huge slip-ups, which is impressive considering we were there within the first two hours of it opening.

The drinks were delicious. And I really wish I could reference a particular drink, but I didn’t write it down. And they don’t have an online menu yet. So just know that the drinks are delicious.

We ordered a salsa trio with a mango salsa, a poblano pecan pesto salsa, and a third one, which was the recommendation of the waiter. The mango salsa was light and fresh. The pesto was a bit heavy but unlike most of the salsas I’ve tried. And the one the waiter recommended (again, really wish I would have taken notes) was smoky and delicious. Though all the salsas were a treat, I loved the salsa that comes with the chips. It’s a house sauce with an uncooked blend of tomatillo and Serrano peppers bound together by avocado. It’s smooth, but has a bit of a kick. I also ordered the mango, arugula salad that comes with cotija cheese and guajillo chile vinaigrette. Though I didn’t see it mentioned on the menu, it also came with chicken or beef. That combined with the bowls of chip and salsa was enough to require a to-go box.

The prices on the menu were a bit confusing. Overall, it’s a very reasonably priced place.  Unique salsas run about a dollar a piece. My salad was only $8. But then one of the guacamoles costs $12. And there are a few dishes (filets, fish) that cost more than $22.

At first, when I heard another Mexican restaurant was moving downtown, I thought, Do we really need this? We already have Iron Cactus and Sol Irlandes. I didn’t think we needed another. But Wild Salsa isn’t Tex-Mex, it’s Mexican cuisine with some infusion from chef Kelly Hightower.

I love this place. And I’m so excited it’s downtown. I just feel bad for my friends. They now live right above a restaurant.


  • The guy at Pho Colonial told me “two weeks” two weeks ago. So, we’ll see…

    Glad you liked it. I work on the next block. Can’t wait until it opens for lunch!

  • Well, he did admit that he had been saying six weeks for six months. He said they’re basically just waiting on their certificate of occupancy. Here’s hoping it’s soon! I want some bubble tea.

  • Frank wright

    Pictures of the offending sign?

  • Justin

    I’m really excited about this place, the inside looks great from what I saw walking by when leaving The Merc.

    I really dig the sign and the motif myself. The wifey and I are going to try and eat there tonight.

  • Sorry about that, Frank. Here’s the previous post with the sign. http://sidedish.wpengine.com/2011/06/23/wild-salsa-in-downtown-dallas-readies-to-open/

  • Jugg

    Judging by the signage, it looks as though Ed Hardy decided to open a taco place. Ought to do well in Dallas…

    I hear Affliction is looking to open a farm to table concept across the street.

  • Lindsey Walker

    This place is fantastic! We went last night and enjoyed everything we ate. All the food tastes very fresh and it’s a different take on just regular old Tex-Mex.

  • dfwcre8tive

    They did a great job with the interior of the restaurant; the exterior doors and some of the interior elements came out of the old Statler Hilton (a clever recycling from the Stetson Room: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dfwcre8tive/5588027672/in/set-72157626299313587).

    A few other downtown openings to mention: Salata opens Monday at 1700 Pacific. Starbucks at 1700 Pacific will be starting evening and weekend hours on July 26. Pho Colonial should be open first week of August. Urban Wok (to the right of & sharing the kitchen with Wild Salsa) and Chop House Burger (going in at Akard/Main) are coming soon. And don’t forget Mad Hatter Cafe which recently opened.

  • I wish Salata or Mad Hatter Cafe were open for the people who live downtown. They both close when the downtown workers go home. My husband, who works in Carrollton, will never eat at either of those. I’m excited about the others, though.

  • CB

    is it open for lunch?

  • JS

    Sounds like I need to try these new places! BTW, I heard Pho was getting their CO this week.