photos by Scott Harris

Las Vegas off-Strip dining has been growing leaps and bounds over the years. Recently a new dining venue opened between the suburbs of The Lakes and Summerlin. Finding authentic Mexican cuisine in our area that combines great authentic food with passion and familial ties is something that we found noteworthy, especially when it resides in a place that once housed one of Las Vegas’s best restaurants, the long shuttered Rosemary’s. Discovering Salud Mexican Bistro and Tequileria, a delightful, family owned restaurant full of charm, a full tequila program and mouthwatering Mexican cuisine is worth stopping in for lunch, dinner or happy hour.

On our visit, we were welcomed by the effervescent Stevie Topchi, one of the owners. Our eyes were immediately drawn to the iron agave sculpture that highlights the bar and provides a separation from the dining room. This wrought iron agave creates an optical illusion for the many decorative tequila bottles that seem to float in air. A large alluring mural of secretive eyes peering from a seductive calavera decorative skull grabbed our attention causing us to pause as we perused the extensive and carefully crafted menu. Stevie joined us at our table and explained, “We are third generation restaurateurs. My husband Andres and his brother Daniel Topchi grew up working in their parent’s traditional Mexican restaurants. We have been eating the same dishes for the past 25 years. They are great recipes but we wanted to take these recipes and transform them into something unique, something you can’t get at a traditional Mexican restaurant.

“The menu is designed between three chefs and the family. Every item was presented and tasted repeatedly until they agreed it was perfect. The same enthusiasm went into our cocktails. No premade mixes, just fresh ingredients and juices to deliver the best quality. For tequila aficionados, enjoy a collection of over 100 tequilas and mezcals. We know that great food and cocktails aren’t enough. Customer service has always been an important element in our family business. It’s not just a meal it’s an experience. One of the family is always here making sure your experience exceeds your expectations,” she added with a wide smile.

Margaritas were certainly on the agenda. Stevie suggested we try the Tradicional: a classic blend of blanco tequila, fresh lime and lemon juice and agave nectar. We fully complied without any hesitation as each sip easily gave tribute to the pop of flavors in this carefully crafted traditional cocktail. If you are an aficionado of tequila, order the Horizontal Maturity flight. For $100 enjoy Milagros Select Barrel Reserve, Clase Azul Anejo and Gran Patron Burdeos.

Stevie returned to our table excited about showing off our first course herself. We started right off in style with Octopus Salteado with romesco lime sauce, smoked pepper and creme fraiche to finish off our course. Next up was a Shrimp Ceviche with shallots, roasted garlic and a touch of sesame seed oil that had us wanting more. Our desire was soon rewarded with Lobster Enchiladas topped with cilantro pepita cream, queso fresco, black beans and a tasty cilantro rice. Taking a sip of our Margarita, we noticed Stevie coming across the room, walking briskly and beaming like a school girl as she arrived at our table stating, “This is one of my favorites!!” Placing the artfully prepared dish on our table, our eyes flashed and palate began salivating. The Bone-in Short Rib with guajillo chipotle mole, crispy onions, charro beans and roasted corn on the cob beckoned us with its colorful presentation and tantalizing aromas. This dish was a standout of the experience so far. Soon our appetites were well satiated but yet we found no reason to have this dining adventure come to an end. Stopping in again just a few days later for Happy Hour, the Street Tacos of pork belly, carne asada, al pastor, barbacoa and pollo asado made a perfect way to enjoy an afternoon bite.

Salud is starting off on the right foot. They have been listening to their customers, always willing to take suggestions and make changes. We have returned to Salud on numerous occasions. The service and food have consistently been on point. Lunch, Happy Hour or Dinner, Salud brings a flourish of south of the border passion with every dish and drink that they present to the table-Ole! You will not be disappointed. For more information go to www.saludmexicanbistro.com.