Deep Ellum restaurant-bar Cafe Salsera is doing a reboot, with a new chef, food concept, and menu. All it needs is a new location. Kidding. The cafe will refocus its efforts towards the restaurant part of its profile, and has hired an accredited chef, Armando Aguilar.
Aguilar is a culinary graduate of Universidad del Valle de Puebla in Mexico, and he has worked at CBD Provisions, Knife, Dallas Country Club, Bouchon 1314, and Hotel St. Germain.
Cafe Salsera originally opened in 2015 as an ambitious project that combined restaurant, club, and coffee bar. It was open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a walk-up window where customers could get coffee to-go.
But the concept has had a hard time of it. Owner Wilson Chan, an entrepreneur, opened it to fulfill his passion for salsa dancing, but the management team was inexperienced, and the place has been the site of more than one brawl, due mostly to a lax door policy and lack of security.
Switching to a more restaurant focus seems like a good idea.
Aguilar brings a background rich in Mexican and French cuisines to his creation of a New American menu, stating in a release, "I designed the Cafe Salsera menu with many of my favorite classic American dishes and then added a personal touch."
His menu includes tuna tartare with premium grade tuna, avocado cream, and housemade naan bread, and a tasting of four pork bellies on a steamed bun. There's a halibut with orzo pasta, chorizo, mushrooms, parsnips, and pea puree, which sounds very Knife-y. Tamarind short rib comes with parsnip puree and Swiss chard.
There are vegetarian dishes, sides such as smoked mac and cheese and desserts that include strawberry mousse with sage sorbet. Nothing on the menu is more than $25.
The cafe is keeping its gourmet coffees and cocktails, and will feature a separate brunch menu on weekends.