If you decided to venture inside the Midtown Global Market located on Lake Street in Minneapolis, you’ll see the restaurant A La Salsa hidden away deep in the corner of the building. Walking inside the restaurant, you’ll find a small, lowkey seated area with some of the most authentic Mexican food along the Lake Street area. From the moment you walk inside, you are greeted with friendly service that will not hesitate to throw their two cents in about the best menu item if asked.
Throughout the entire meal, the distinct and powerful flavors of each ingredient in any food were very tasteful. In the tamale platter ($10.95), the pork and chicken tamales were prepared with different spices and garnished with a green chile sauce.. Usually, Mexican cuisine in America is served with a typical red salsa you might use for chips. However, the waiter specifically recommended that I get the green salsa, which illuminated the specific flavors within the corn husk, as well as adding an overarching spice to the entire dish. Out of the two, the pork tamale was better because of the more bright spice and intense flavor of the meat and corn meal blend.
Moving away from the food usually found in Mexican restaurants, I also tried the Camarones al Mojo de Ajo ($15.59), which are sauteed shrimp in garlic, lime juice, parsley and a wine butter sauce. While the traditional Mexican dish carries more of a deep spice and is fried in garlic, the Camarones al Mojo de Ajo presented such a light, airy flavor that the plate of food was gone within seconds. I ordered this dish with a side of corn tortillas and fried plantains, both common foods found and eaten by Mexican locals. The heaviness of the plantains and tortillas were the perfect balance the shrimp needed, as the greasy plantains held a starchier, more dense flavor. The corn tortillas themselves were denser than the flour tortillas, which provided another base for the light sauce of the shrimp to stand up on.
For dessert, the restaurant did not disappoint in maintaining authentic Mexican cuisine. The pineapple tamale ($4.50) is something you can find very commonly in the streets of Mexico, and A La Salsa executed the dish perfectly with the pieces of pineapple blended effortlessly within the cornmeal. The corn husk was garnished with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and cranberry chutney, creating the clash of hot and cold that all Americans practice with any warm dessert as well. The fact that it was a traditional dessert made it taste even better, because it was almost like the tamale transported you to the country of Mexico itself.
I really applaud A La Salsa for serving a total Americanized dish like Fried Chocolate Truffles with Ice Cream ($6.50) and still finding a way to balance authentic Mexican cuisine along with it. The dessert was exactly what it sounds like, fried chocolate truffles. However, what was underneath them was a bunuelo, or a fried flour tortilla topped with sugar and cinnamon. The blend of the extremely gooey Americanized chocolate lover’s dessert with another Mexican tradition truly shows the dedication the chef and waiters of A La Salsa strived to have: the most authentic Mexican-American cuisine you can have.
Although A La Salsa is hidden in the back corner of the Midtown Global Market, it is so very worth the trek. From start to finish, the service was unbelievably friendly and willing to answer any question and recommend and idea. If you’re looking for an affordable place to eat authentic Mexican cuisine, A La Salsa is your place without a doubt.