Salud to Life, Tequila and Mexican Fusion

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Frida Bistro

545 W. 700 S. SLC | 801.983.6692

Lunch: Monday – Friday, 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m.
Dinner: Monday –Thursday, 5 p.m.–9 p.m.
Friday–Saturday, 5 p.m.–10 p.m. Closed Sundays
fridabistro.com

Trending in the international food scene of Mexico City is Mexican-fusion cuisine. Fresh, local ingredients mixed with Mexican spice and prepared proteins resting upon a bed of lentils and veggies to create distinctive flavor is the undeniable progression of authentic Mexican cuisine. Here in Salt Lake, the off-the-beaten-path Frida Bistro delivers the subtle yet powerful essence your taste buds crave. Cuisine this lovely is similar to Mexico’s fusion gastronomy that is beginning to take the world by storm.

This downtown restaurant is named after the passionate Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, an emblematic figure who painted her life stories and became an icon of patience, endurance and strength. Perhaps her most famous quote, “Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away,” is symbolic of the nurturing, modern and joyous atmosphere that Frida Bistro has established.

Putting passion and art to the test at Frida Bistro, I naturally started with the soup the day: the margarita menu. Sticking with a classic, I ordered the El Jefe ($12), prepared with tequila and Grand Marnier with a salted rim—it was smooth and refreshing. My husband, Scott, decided to spice it up with the Papaya Habanero ($10). It’s tasty—however, it’s too much heat for me at once. If you love tequila, you may enjoy sipping on one of the few mezcals on the menu.

To accompany our tequila elixirs, we jumped right into the Calamar Azul ($11): calamari dusted with blue corn, paired with an amazing lemon-and-jalapeño aioli. The flavor was absolutely delightful, and the tenderness and slight crunch was spot on. If you love ceviche, the Ceviche Atun ($12) was an interesting twist on a traditional staple. The sophistication of the dish is fully expressed with the apple flavor that enhances the sushi-grade tuna and arugula base that remind of freshly caught tuna off the shores of a Mexican beach.

My favorite dish of the night was the Ensalada de Octopus ($11). Resting upon a bed of arugula, the marinated octopus and shrimp paired with sliced peppers, onion and a lemon dressing. The dish explores a fresh and light temptation of boldness. Grilled proteins pop with a hint of spice from garden-fresh jalapeño, far surpassing a standard house salad prior to a main course.

By the time we were on to our main dish, we were ordering a second round of drinks. Switching it up, Scott chose the La Paloma ($13), a blend of Añejo tequila and grapefruit juice with a sugared rim. I was skeptical about the sugar rim—however, it surprisingly complemented the drink, though it was a little too sweet for Scott’s liking. I chose to enjoy a glass of Tempranillo. As a wine lover, I enjoy seeing several Spanish wine options on a menu.

For my main course, the Salmon Malinche ($18) melted in my mouth. Salmon cooked to fall- apart-at-the-touch-of-a-fork perfection, with a base of light corn tamal, avocado and pineapple salsa was the perfect end-of-summer fare. Scott enjoyed Pork Carnitas ($20), a fall-off-the-bone braised pork tenderloin. 

True to Mexican style, the dessert menu was filled with cordials, dessert wines and tasty pastries. The café is roasted exclusively for Frida Bistro by SLC’s Rimini Coffee. I chose to sip a black coffee while tasting the the Pastel de Mole Negro ($10) for dessert. I thought that the chocolate-mole cake, dark-chocolate ganache, honey-chocolate mousse, tequila-pickled cherries and housemade black-pepper ice cream would send me into a food coma, and it did (in a good way). If heaven had a taste, this could be it. Sharing the dessert after an evening of food and drinks was the way to go. Every morsel was worth the taste, and the black pepper ice cream added an interesting twist to the mix of flavors.

The pride of coming together to enjoy a meal in Mexico is a daily tradition, and dining at Frida Bistro provides the warmth of dining with family. It reminded me of enjoying a meal and conversation at the Santa Lucia Square in the culinary destination of Mérida, Mexico.

Beyond the food, Frida Bistro has something special planned for the Mexican celebration of Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. On Wednesday, Nov. 1, Rico Brand and Frida Bistro will revive their Día de los Muertos Celebration. The celebration will take place at the Rico/Frida warehouse at 545 W. 700 South, from 6 to 11 p.m., and will feature Mexican cuisine, live music, a cash bar, a Mexican market and kids’ activities.The entrance fee for adults is 15 cans of food or $15; for kids, it’s 10 cans of food or $10.