The staff was extremely attentive but with no other people in the restaurant this was too be expected. The lunch menu was very long and making a decision was difficult as each option sounded more tempting than the next. Touting their food style as "Nuevo Latino", their dishes are inspired by the cuisine of Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Caribbean and South America. Seafood dominated the appetizers lists with old favourites such as "Ropa Vieja" taking precedence on the entrée list. I wanted to keep to a light lunch and opted for the soup of the day, which was carrot, followed by a tomato, beet, avocado salad. In addition, one of my colleagues thankfully ordered a side dish of sweet plantains for us to nibble on.
The carrot soup was surprisingly creamy and sweet but utterly delicious. One outstanding feature of the food at Café Salsa is that all the ingredients appeared to be very fresh. There wasn’t a hint of age in the avocado I was served and the tomatoes and beets were crisp and crunchy. The sweet plantains were moist and firm and not at all oily. The Pollo al Aioli sandwich that was served also looked extremely fresh in every way, including the French baguette on which it was served.
The interior of Café Salsa is the only part that somewhat belies its Latino heritage. The floor is a uniform striping of red and white and the walls follow a similar colour pattern. Mirrors hang on one wall to illuminate the narrow restaurant space but overall it creates an atmosphere of modernity and sophistication as opposed to the colour, passion and energy that I usually associate with the Caribbean and South America. That said, true to their name, Café Salsa hosts salsa lessons every Tuesday night and features "international tropical music" with a DJ every Friday and Saturday night.
London, United Kingdom
April 6, 2008
From journal Don’t Drive in DC (& Other Tips for a Sane Business Trip)