Sangrita Saloon delivers big flavor, delicious cocktails
Writer & Photographer / Angie Trusty
Named for the tomato-based shot meant as a pallet cleanser between tequila shots, Sangrita Saloon is a modern Mexican restaurant off the beaten path in Broad Ripple. It is reminiscent of an old-time saloon in the west with soft lighting, cozy interior, metal ceiling, various colors of wood plank paneling covering the walls and rustic wooden communal tables. Stationed behind the alabaster-colored bar showcasing Sangrita’s stash of premium tequila, the bartender mixes up a few craft cocktails.
Sangrita’s version of their namesake shot is a combination of 21 ingredients, including tomato juice, jalapeno pepper and pasilla pepper. It reminded me of spicy V-8 but kicked up several notches with the smoky undertones and unparalleled depth of flavor.
No premade overly sweet mixes used here. Sangrita’s classica margarita is made with their house premium tequila, Espolon Blanco, Cointreau, agave and fresh-squeezed lime juice. Served on the rocks in a salt-rimmed highball glass, this drink is great example of how a margarita should be made.
Perhaps a cocktail even more popular in Mexico than the margarita is the Paloma. It’s a light, refreshing, fizzy tequila cocktail made with grapefruit juice, ancho chili liqueur, grapefruit syrup and club soda. The tall glass is rimmed with a mixture of salt, sugar and some cayenne pepper. Sangrita’s version is packed with just the right amount of heat. When you’re ready for a change from the classic margarita, try a Paloma.
The fundido is a cheesy bowl of wonderfulness – a perfect starter. Melted queso blanco, and other cheeses is topped with diced roasted poblano peppers and drizzled with a red pepper puree sauce. It’s mild and creamy with a touch of heat from the peppers and served with house made tortilla chips.
In the tostada camarones, smashed black beans are sandwiched between two crispy tostadas, then the tostada is smeared with avocado puree and topped with pineapple, chipotle marinated shrimp and finally topped with a crisp, flavorful jicama slaw dressed with a honey-ancho vinaigrette. The tostada camarones is as impressive to view as it is to eat.
Costilla De Res is a flavorful taco with mouthwatering, tender beef short ribs, house crema and finished with crisp pickled red cabbage. The short ribs are stewed in a mixture of espresso coffee, chocolate bitters, ancho peppers and agave. It sounds like a strange combination, but the flavors really work well and complement each other.
My favorite taco is the jowl taco. I once gave up being a vegetarian because I no longer wanted to deprive myself of bacon. Inside two soft tortillas is jowl bacon from the Smoking Goose, drizzled with paprika mayo crowned with avocado and tomato relish and local micro greens. Does bacon make everything better? You bet.
For the elotes, grilled sweet corn is slathered in a creamy paprika spiked mayo with lime and cumin, then topped with queso cotija cheese. The plump ears of corn were beautifully charred and perfectly cooked so that with each bite the kernels explode with a sweet, nutty flavor from the grill. The cobs are jammed onto a stick which makes it easier to eat but extra napkins are still necessary.
For such a tiny kitchen, Sangrita packs a big punch of flavor into their Mexican tapas. The quality of food and service consistently exceeds my expectations. So, go enjoy a made-from-scratch menu item and craft cocktail soon.