What’s good here?
The owner of Camden’s Salud Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Lounge, Alfonso Bravo, said his favorite dish the Brochetas Bravas steak skewer; steak is marinated in garlic and roasted peppers.
“The flavors of this dish, and many other dishes, comes through,” he said.
Another is Ceviche de Camaron: citrus marinated shrimp, red onion, jalapeño cucumber, cilantro, tomato, and avocado. These are appetizers, or small plates to share.
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There are also salads with multiple ingredients, soups, Tortas, which are hot-pressed sandwiches, and distinct tacos, enchiladas, burritos, and quesadillas. These dishes feature everything from Mahi Mahi to shredded chicken to lump crab meat.
How did Salud get its start?
Bravo, who is connected to the San Jose restaurant family and worked in the San Jose businesses as a teenager starting in the mid-1990s, eventually opened his own San Jose restaurant in Elgin.
However, he also wanted to bring to South Carolina a true and sophisticated Mexican cuisine experience. Thus, he traveled to a southern region in Mexico to learn about the incorporation and infusion of distinct flavors and spices into a variety of meats and dishes.
The tequila concept of Salud is due to his upbringing in a central region of Mexico where tequila, made authentically from the Blue Agave plant, originates. He insists that most South Carolinians have not experienced true tequila, and Salud offers at least 100 varieties.
He opened five years ago in Camden and named his establishment Salud because it means a Spanish toast: “to your health.”
What does the place look like?
Central to the textural contemporary design are the hanging rattan globe lights, suspended from an open ceiling in a historic building in downtown Camden.
Architectural gates, arches and dividers create a stylized and intimate atmosphere.
A focal-point bar is stocked with tequilas and homemade syrups for cocktails. Plenty of fresh fruit is available for squeezing for the drinks as well. Colorful lights bring attention to the bar.
Seating is provided for 90 – with a private dining room set aside for parties of up to 40.
Who eats here?
Bravo said because his Mexican dining experience is so unique, it has become a destination spot for lunch and dinner diners from Florence, Sumter, Lancaster, Hartsville, Columbia, Elgin, and even Irmo.
Regulars drive an impressive distance to taste Salud’s dishes, while Camden’s foodies have put Salud on the map.
“While San Jose is good food and people can come in and get a good meal in a hurry, Salud is about sitting down, relaxing, and enjoying an upscale Mexican food experience,” he said.
Salud Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Lounge
WHERE: 1011 Broad St., Camden
WHEN: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday
COST: $5 to $13.50
INFO: www.saludmexicankitchen.com; (803) 425-4850; Facebook