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Anyone tried Salsa Restaurant in New Milford, CT? (supposedly Santa Fe-style Mexican)

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Hi Connecticut hounds,

I recently heard a rumor that there's a Santa Fe-style Mexican restaurant in New Milford called Salsa.

If true, it would be one of only two New Mexican restaurants in New England (green chile, pozole, sopaipillas, "Christmas-style" enchiladas, etc), the other being Autentica in South Hadley, MA, which I found to be good, but not into the realm of unnecessary-road-trip-for-great chow.

Any info would be greatly appreciated:

Salsa Restaurant
54 Railroad St.
New Milford, CT 06776

Thanks in advance!

P.S. A little bit of Googling confirmed that this is *not* a branch of the CA-based chain La Salsa, although there are a few erroneous hits to the contrary.

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  1. Dang! I passed by there last Sunday and didn't kow to check it out. I'm very curious...
    I'd drive that far if it's any good.
    I think Geronimo's, in New Haven might qualify for haute New Mexican cuisine. It's definitely Southwestern.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Scargod

      Wow, I didn't realize Geronimo was New Mexican, thanks! Looking at their menu online, I'm not sure I could sell this one to "New Mex-pat" wife; in Albuquerque, if you spend more than ten bucks on an entree, you're just asking to be ridiculed. But of course, this place actually seems relatively reasonably priced by New England standards. And after all, Hatch green chile is Hatch green chile; in these parts, that may merit the trip on its own...

      1. re: finlero

        Fin, i agree. Great looking menu, but in Albuquerque, one might find it in the Heights, not in the South Valley. You gotta understand that Scargod is one of these oil Texans whose eyes were blinded and scarred by God when he visited Hatch Heaven in New Mexico and saw the light. :)
        Does your wife know a good source for Chomayo chile?
        Our son goes to school in Amherst, so every visit we hit Authentica.

        1. re: Passadumkeg

          Have bought a number of items from here and am quite pleased. The smell was overpowering when I opened the box!http://www.nativeseeds.org/v2/prod.ph...

          And though no chimayo is offered, I bought whole, dried peppers here: http://www.thespicehouse.com/search/?...
          I really like their granulated, toasted garlic powder, and their greasy, grimey, granulated gopher guts, too. (you're paying attention?
          )
          Have not bought from here: http://www.salsasetc.com/catalog/dry_...
          and another, not tried: http://www.savoryspiceshop.com/spices...

          Yes, I was once blind, but now I see! Chiles have set me free!
          Once in the dark and wandering lost, I found enlightenment in Taos.
          It wasn't oil, it was mary jane. I retired when I was thirty.

          1. re: Passadumkeg

            I get Chimayo chile powder from Da Gift Basket, www.dagiftbasket.com. An unfortunate name, but the service is excellent, and they have a terrific variety of products at reasonable prices. I currently have bags of Chimayo medium red, Chimayo hot red, Hatch green, and Chipotle chile powders, as well as a bag of Mexican oregano (no, really, it's just oregano) in my cupboard, all of which I ordered from their web site. They also ship frozen Hatch green chiles.

            1. re: Passadumkeg

              What do (did?) you get at Autentica? I haven't heard much about that place... is it still around?

        2. google takes me to the "la salsa" chain restaurant website, lasalsa.com. place looks like on the border or something. is this correct? if so, no posole or any non-sysco type food anywhere in sight.

          1 Reply
          1. re: goodbyeohio

            I'm pretty sure those links on Google are wrong; a number of the hits on Google say it *isn't* La Salsa, and the lasalsa.com locator says the only two branches in CT are in Fairfield and Rockaway.

          2. I have only been to 1 Mexican restaurant in New Milford and if was about 8 years ago, so I am not sure if this is the same place. I have a feeling it may be. If it is, don't waste your time. It's Mexican ala hippy. Nothing doing here.

            1. I live in New Milford and I have to say that Salsa is the best Mexican restaurant in the area. I have eaten at the other TWO in the area and they don't add up. Everything from the homemade chips and salsa to the enchilada's are GREAT!!! I would reccomend it to anyone near or far. I say its worth the drive. Be sure to make a reservation on a Fri. or Sat. night because they are ALWAYS packed. Then take a walk around Bank St. its full of cute little shops and it has a movie theater. Make it a date night!!

              1 Reply
              1. re: summerbeauty

                Cool, someone's actually been there.

                Can you confirm/refute if it's Santa Fe-style?

              2. Salsa is truly one of the best Mexican style restaurants in the area.

                But if planning a trip there be aware they only accept cash.

                1. And yes, it is Santa-Fe style, the owners are very knowledgeable about their dishes and ingredients.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: bushkin1

                    Dude, you just made my weekend. Road trip!

                    Any must-have dishes?

                    1. re: finlero

                      Any follow up on this? I would be interested to hear about your experience :)

                      1. re: CindysFarmStand

                        I've been to Salsa, New Milford quite a few times. We really like it. It's just a double storefront, no atmosphere, BUT (big hint), they DO take reservations!

                  2. We finally made it to Salsa over this past weekend. Some plusses and minuses here.

                    Plusses:

                    * The chef used to live in Taos, NM, so there are some bona fide NM-style dishes on the menu.

                    * Solid homemade guacamole, made from fresh avocados, at "market price". The portion was smallish, but the taste was good, made better with a lot of salt and pepper.

                    * Excellent, presumably made-on-premises chips to go with the guac and salsa.

                    * Actual green chile and red chile as they have in New Mexico. Almost certain the chiles were canned, but hey, we're 2000 miles from Santa Fe, I'll take what I can get.

                    Minuses:

                    * Beans and rice were dryish and a little bland. A little salt went a long way, but I would have loved for my "vegetarian refried beans" (!!!) to have had some lard in 'em.

                    * No hard liquor license. The Negra Modelo was great, but a Mike-arita from Mike's hard lemonade is a far cry from a good margarita.

                    * Huevos rancheros only for lunch?!?! No, this will not do.

                    Bottom line: a few dishes had some echoes of New Mexico, but this was ultimately a Connecticut Mexican restaurant. A better-than-average CT Mexican restaurant, but a CT Mexican restaurant all the same. Autentica in S. Hadley, MA, and especially Los Dos Molinos in NYC are both significantly better facsimiles of the style of Mexican I'm after, but you could do a lot worse for a Mexican meal in Southern New England.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: finlero

                      As a long-time seasonal resident of the Phoenix area as well as a Mexican food lover, I've always enjoyed Salsa's Santa Fe cuisine, whether it be true "Santa Fe" style or a variation there of. The ingredients are always ultra-fresh, the selection and preparation of dishes thoughtful and well executed. I'm compelled to mention that my definition of a "Connecticut" Mexican restaurant is more on the level of a Pancho's & Gringos, which I find to be a notch above Taco Bell or Del Taco, which to me is inedible. Salsa, whatever variation of Mexican food you may be looking for, is in fact gourmet-level fare.

                      1. re: scottsdalesean

                        Thanks for your take on this (I think), and welcome to Chowhound!

                        What other places do you like in the area for more authentic and less dumbed-down Mexican food?

                      2. re: finlero

                        was excited to try this restaurant, as many people had recommended it. We found ourselves kid free unexpectedly on a Friday night,so we decided to pop in. I knew it was small, more of a cafe than restaurant, and hoped the food made up for the lack of decor, and the tiny, tiny restaurant. I thought it was good, not great, but good.

                        We ordered chips,and a combo of salsas to start, smoky chipotle and salsa verde. the waitress touted the chips as being homemade, and I couldn’t wait to try them!. Maybe it was that we were there later (after 8), but the chips seemed a bit stale to me. The salsa, however was amazing- the real star of our entire evening! I like a more spicy salsa,and the chipotle fit that bill. Made fresh daily, I was told, it had the perfect blend of smoky and spice. The salsa verde was yummy- light and fresh.

                        My husband ordered Nachos Grande as a meal- with chipotle salsa. it was a smaller portion that I thought there would be, but he ate every bit (well, he shared a bite with me,and it was good!) He was happy with it.

                        I had a combo plate with a chicken enchilada with salsa verde,and a beef tostada with the hot habanero salsa. They were both good, especially the hot habanero salsa- that was a real star! The beef was tasty,and tender, and I enjoyed it. The enchilada was nice and bright, (I could have used a lime wedge to really wake it up!) nicely seasoned and filling. The accompanying rice and beans were fine.Nothing exciting, but fine.

                        That’s kinda how I felt about the whole experience at Salsa. Not the stellar experience I was expecting, but it was fine. I’d certainly go there again, I’d love to try Billy’s Breakfast Burrito, the southwestern veggie wrap and the Flan, among other things, and I will be a regular to pick up some of the delicious salsa to go (available to go by the pint) in the summer. it will go perfectly with margaritas- which they do not serve at Salsa- beer, wine and soft drinks only.

                        Pricewise- our dinner was about $28.- cheap and cheerful. We had water to drink, Be aware- CASH ONLY

                        Bottom Line- its worth a second visit, but probably won’t be on our list of favorites, except the salsa, to go..

                        (orignally review on newmilfordonline.com)

                      3. Salsa is a very nice casual place to eat good food with very interesting flavors and combinations of food. Their specials are always good. Actually surprised we don't have something similar down in Fairfield County. Yes, Geronimo in New Haven is kinda along the same lines....just kinda.

                        A couple interesting places have popped up in the New Milford dining scene. On the same block is the Puerto Rican place where the catered food place used to be. And, next to the Heritage Inn is an authentic Mexican grocery/casual counter that is always packed now and offering fresh food (though not fresh chips last time I was there), which I think made me storm out, if I remember correctly. I just don't have time to not eat good fresh food.

                        1. OK, so after reading this thread, I had to check the place out for myself. I was particularly intrigued by the descriptions of the smoky chipotle salsa. I had visions of this being along the lines of my "holy grail" salsa, which has bits of charred roasted peppers and other yummy stuff in it with a deliciousness that is both fresh and smoky-tasting, if that makes any sense. I used to be able to buy it jarred, but can't find it anymore. Nor can I remember the brand name at the moment. They offer a similar salsa at Chevy's Fresh Mex (don't throw things at me... yes, I know it's a chain, but their salsa is incredible!)

                          It was a nice day, so I took a little drive up to New Milford, about 20 mins or so from home base. Found the place easily enough and there was free parking out front. Always a plus. Ordered a shredded beef burrito with green chile sauce (I love green chile anything) and chips and smoky chipotle salsa to go. After shelling out about $15 for this "lunch," I have to say I was underwhelmed.

                          The salsa was unremarkable and didn't live up to my fantasies - but that's probably more MY fault than theirs. It wasn't BAD, but it wasn't awesome. And the chips were decidedly NOT fresh and a tad too greasy for my taste.

                          The burrito, while definitely generously-sized and full of tender shredded beef and nondescript beans (I guess they'd be described as "ranchero" beans, maybe? not sure...), was just ok. The chile sauce did not taste very fresh to me, but it did add a nice kick to the overall dish. My greatest complaint, I think, was that they packaged the food in an aluminum container. Not the best environment for acidic foods like a green chile sauce. I tasted a little "metallic" in my meal. :-(

                          I'm glad I tried it, if only to satisfy my curiosity, but I doubt I'll be going back. Maybe the quesadillas and nachos are better menu choices, but I didn't think they'd travel well as a takeout order. And, with no margaritas available, I can't see wanting to eat there. Nah, I think I'll try some of the other local places next time I'm up there...

                          -----
                          Salsa Restaurant
                          54 Railroad St, New Milford, CT 06776

                          1. We have lived in new milford 4 17 years. Salsas is by far our fav restaurant! It's good mexican for being located in southern new england. The menu is small the owner buys local & buys fresh. Their specials r typically amazing. If u r in the area its a must.....