The Dallas Morning News' Leslie Brenner and Scott "Hipster Dreamboat" Reitz of the Dallas Observer once again review the same restaurant in the same week--last time it was Mesa in Oak Cliff, and they go south of the border together a second time for this week's Wild Salsa reviews. The downtown-and-upscale Mexican place opened mid-July. Here come the critics!
Brenner and Reitz are dancing in time with these reviews. Both open noting Dallas' historic lack of true Mexican cuisine ("At long last," writes Brenner, Wild Salsa arrives alongside Mesa and Alma, while Reitz notes this is hardly your standard Chili's excursion). Both warn us not to fill up on the chips 'n salsa ("exercise caution with this gratis snack," writes Reitz) and like the margaritas (Brenner more than Reitz, who prefers the tequila flight), and the standard, simple, guacamole rather than the fancy Wild Salsa signature version.
The critics split on the decor, which Brenner says "feels like a guacamole den" but Reitz says could be mistaken for "another hip downtown lounge." As for the tacos, Brenner says they're "not the most compelling things on the menu" though Reitz painstakingly describes the successes and failures of each (al pastor tacos are "tinged red with musky achiote and topped with pineapple," he writes), remarking that the seafood fillings are flavor "flops." Reitz likes the elotes; Brenner could do without.
Everyone likes the lamb shank, which at $30, Reitz notes, is pricey for a casual Mexican place. Brenner goes on to feature dishes Reitz leaves out, calling the large plate menu "a minefield." But Brenner loves the seared duck breast and the "pitch-perfect Acapulqueño ceviche." Both Reitz and Brenner say the service is fantastic, with Reitz even noting it's the kind of service you'd expect at much, much finer dining establishment.
In the end, Reitz says Wild Salsa's "food skews away from Texas and leans more toward Mexico, elevating the Chili's standard, but not too far," while Brenner exclaims, "¡Viva la revolución!"
Wild Salsa's tequila flight. [Photo: Wild Salsa/Facebook]