Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Speaking of Good Combos, What About Salsas and Nashville?

Posted By on Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 6:00 AM

click to enlarge Salsas.jpg

You'll all be glad to hear that my dining reveries from the Fox family trip to Asheville are coming to end, but I'll close the Eastward travelogue with this thought from one of my favorite casual dining restaurants anywhere, Salsas.

Located in the center of downtown near Pack Square, Salsas (6 Patton Ave., Asheville, N.C.) fuses a cheap-and-cheerful margarita-soaked atmosphere with hard-to-find culinary cleverness based on Mexican and Caribbean flavors. Salsa combinations include tomato-carrot-ancho, pineapple-caper-habanero and banana-nut. Enchiladas burst with unexpected medleys such as steak with pumpkin, eggplant, smoked cheese and curry sauce. Empanadas include roast pork with mushrooms, chiles, mint and garlic mojo and jerk tofu with sweet potato, roasted vegetables, herbed avocado and saffron-fennel seed sauce.

While Salsas is not like anything in Nashville, I have tried feebly to describe it as a fusion of two other favorites: Baja Burrito and Calypso Cafe.

Hmmm. That doesn't exactly capture Salsas, but the combination sounds good in and of itself. That gets me to thinking about other restaurant marriages that would be good fusions. For example, how about Miel meets Marche, in which the French-infused Sylvan Park nightspot spins off a casual, lunchtime eatery in the way that Margot spawned Marche?

Or Re'Je's Grab & Go and Corrieri's Formaggeria? A perfect union of sausage and cheese.

(For that matter Savarino's Cucina and the Wendy's on Thompson Lane? Delicious homemade Italian food prepared at the speed of sound. ChaChah and 12South Tap Room, where hot chocolate is available by the keg.)

In the absence of Salsas opening a Nashville outpost, what other restaurant consolidations would you like to see?

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