* by Erika Larson, LA based contributor
Situated in LA’s growing Frogtown right along the LA River, Salazar is a true gem in what’s becoming an increasingly popular part of Los Angeles. As someone who can’t say I make it past Downtown all too frequently, I was pleasantly surprised by the fun atmosphere of this converted Autobody shop not far from Dodger Stadium. If an outdoor dining experience is what you’re looking for, Salazar is certainly a can’t miss restaurant in this part of town.
The restaurant’s décor is minimal but tasteful, with a real emphasis on desert vegetation. Had I not been taking photos for the purpose of this review, I would have definitely found myself photographing the cacti, as their linear placement against the cotton candy LA sunset was breathtaking.
Chef Jonathan Aviles doesn’t disappoint, with both steak and seafood prepared to perfection on his heavily Sonora, Mexico influenced menu. Their cocktails are outstanding as well, with fresh exotic juices and flavors reminiscent of south of the border. If you’re looking to get your feet wet with Mezcal and Tequila, this is your place. Be sure to try the Ginger Blues cocktail if you’re looking for something refreshingly fruity.
Highlights of the menu include the grilled Aspen Ridge hangar steak and the crispy chorizo-crusted scallops. I’ll be dreaming of both of these main dishes for months to come! The corn tortillas are deliciously handmade, though a little thicker than you may be used to, which I happened to love. You could skip the Espinaca salad, unless it’s greens you’re really craving, as I found it a little lacking in flavor other than pepper. The tacos were good, but it was the steak and seafood that really stole the main show. Don’t forget to order a side of the frijoles puercos: probably some of the best black beans I’ve tried.
To finish, the flourless white chocolate cheesecake was exquisite. I don’t consider myself a huge cheesecake fan, but this was truly decadent and a deliciously sweet way to end the meal.
Overall, Salazar is a wonderful, laid-back outdoor dining experience that you can’t miss. Be sure to take a stroll along the LA River before or after dinner to really enjoy the surroundings!