Technically, Salsitas is a Mexican restaurant located inside of a barbecue joint (Smokin’ A’s) that is connected to a donut shop (King Donut) at 303 East Kings Highway. Looking for a rack of ribs, a bowl of homemade shrimp ceviche and a bear claw? You can get all three in one stop at this magical address, previous home to Leon’s Smoked Turkey, sorely missed purveyors of fine turkey sandwiches. Salsitas serves Mexico City-style tacos (three for $5.99) and daily specials that range from shrimp fajitas to albondigas (usually $5.99-$9.99). I have only eaten their shrimp, beer-battered catfish and al pastor-style tacos, all of which I have loved.
The real star of the show at Salsitas, however, are the salsas. Mr. Salvador, the normally laid-back chef at Salsitas, gets animated as he walks customers through the list of a dozen or so made-from-scratch salsas available at any given time. Post-It Notes taped to the sides of the colorful bottles bear names like chile morita y tomatillo, salsa de chile guajillo and chile de arbol salsa diabla. I’ve tasted a few salsas this good in Shreveport-Bossier (every one of them at the Shreveport Farmers’ Market), but I have never tasted better. And a dozen options? I managed to try about eight during my last visit and, if you’ll forgive me for being melodramatic, I really feel like I understood salsa for the first time. I tasted smoky, rich salsas with a low, persistent heat as well as pungent green salsas that cooled the tongue. I spent about 25 minutes rambling about the unique tastes of these salsas to Mr. Salvador, who was kind enough to keep producing brightly-colored squeeze bottles from the cooler. Just sitting there eating salsa was some of the most fun I’ve had eating in ages.
Salsitas probably isn’t for everyone. It’s tiny (the dining room seats about 10), decidedly laid-back (during my last visit, an uncensored DVD of Brian De Palma’s Scarface was playing on the television) and there are, I believe, four parking spaces. But, honestly, when a place is this good and this affordable, who cares? The food speaks for itself, and it speaks a language that I personally had not heard before.
Want to have a unique experience at Salsitas with 10 or so other food fanatics? Consider attending our next 20×49.com Dine-In, coming up Oct. 18 & 19, 2013. For more information or to RSVP, check out the Facebook event.