As the seasons change to the hottest time of the year, one Deep Ellum restaurant turns up the heat by bringing in a new chef, food concept, and menu. Café Salsera in Deep Ellum recently named emerging culinary talent Armando Aguilar as Executive Chef to lead the New American cuisine concept and menu.
A Dallas native, Chef Armando brings a diverse and distinguished flavor palate to Café Salsera. A culinary graduate of Universidad del Valle de Puebla in Mexico, Chef Aguilar has worked his way up the ‘food chain’ perfecting his craft at some of the hottest restaurants in Dallas including C.B.D. Provisions, Knife, and Dallas Country Club before landing the Executive Chef position at the award-winning restaurant at Hotel St. Germain and Chef de Cuisine position at Bouchon 1314 in Oak Cliff.
Amongst the music venues, graffiti-laced walls, and colossal Traveling Man statue that give Deep Ellum its charm, Chef Armando now has a stage to display his extensive culinary foundation and creativity. Although he has a background rich in Mexican and French cuisines, Chef Armando is most passionate about the New American cuisine concept. “I designed the Café Salsera menu with many of my favorite classic American dishes and then added a personal touch,” he explained. Chef Armando is a man of few words, proud but quiet, letting the food speak for itself.
Guests will be pleased to find a simple seasonal menu of crowd-pleasing starters, sides, main entrees, and desserts that are all stand-out dishes and reasonably priced under $25. Signature starters include the Tuna Tartare made with premium grade tuna, avocado cream, and homemade naan bread ($15) and the Tasting of Four Pork Bellies served on a steam bun with garnish ($13). Halibut with Chorizo with orzo pasta, sautéed wild mushroom, parsnips and a pea puree ($19), and the Tamarind Short Rib with parsnip puree, braised Swiss chard and pickled ramps and chard stems ($20) are chef-recommended entrees.
Leave room for a side of Smoked Man ‘n Cheese ($7) and a sweet dessert, such as the Strawberry Mousse with Sage Sorbet ($8). Several vegetarian options are also available, as well as a notable list of gourmet coffees and crafted cocktails and a weekend-only brunch menu.
Although the food concept changed, the name and soul of Café Salsera did not. “We are still serving the welcoming complimentary salsa at every table,” said Chef Armando. “It is our way of saying thanks to our customers and is a much-appreciated staple here. Café Salsera would not be the same without the salsa!”