Restaurant Review: Verde

My first stop during Pittsburgh Restaurant Week was the newest Mexican spot in town, Verde. I had seen Verde from the street when I visited Salt, and the décor alone made me want to check it out. It reminded me of Stephen Starr’s El Vez from the street and I thought if it’s anything like El Vez—then it’d be worth a try.

When we arrived at Verde, we headed for the bar to wait for our table and order a drink. The circular bar glows a deep yellow and in addition to local draft beers on tap, there’s an entire wall lined with different bottle of tequila. As it turns out, Verde offers over 150 different tequilas so if you’re a margarita lover or just a boozehound—they’ll surely have one that will tickle your fancy.

Casa Verde Margarita: Pueblo Viejo blanco tequila, curaçao, fresh lime juice. $7

The restaurant week menu at Verde looked promising so I decided to get the $25 price fixe deal that included an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert. I started with the salad and was surprised by the large portion. It was dressed in a poblano vinaigrette which had a smoky flavor to it and was refreshing paired with the fresh greens and veg.

Ensalada Verde. Mesclun, chayote, tomato, queso fresco, poblano-jocoque dressing.

Fritos de Camarones y Maiz. Grilled corn, rock shrimp, quinoa, avocado crema.

My sister had the rock shrimp and corn fritter, which was tasty but very rich. The breading overpowered much of the other flavors and had me searching for a bite that had shrimp. I would suggest a lighter batter that allowed the flavors of what’s inside to shine more, instead of just a bread-heavy fritter.

For my entrée I chose the chicken enchiladas. The enchiladas came to the table covered in a poblano crema sauce and with a side of rice and black beans. The enchiladas were good, but the chicken was a bit dry and the smoky flavor really came out in this dish. I like a little bit of smoke, but would rather be able to experience other clean flavors in my meal as well. Just my preference, my friend loves smoke and chipotle flavors and would happily have it shine in every Mexican dish she eats.

Enchiladas de Pollo. Smoked chicken, queso blanco, poblano crema.

Carne Asada. Grilled tequila-marinated steak, chimichurri, mashed potatoes with plantains, crispy onion.

Tacos de Pescano. Halibut, poblano slaw, chipotle aioli.

Chiles Rellenos de Hongs. Oven-roasted poblanos, criminis, wild rice, queso blanco, chipotle asado sauce, samfaina.

And lastly for dessert, I had the tres leches bread pudding because they were out of the chocolate torte. The bread pudding was warm, soft, and delicious and I devoured it even though I said I was only going to “have one bite.” HA!

Overall, Verde was good and I’ll be back because I liked the atmosphere and the chips and salsa were awesome. But, there is one problem Verde needs to sort out if they want people to come back to their restaurant. They need to figure out how to time meals correctly— we were waiting in between courses for about 15 minutes or so and on a Monday night, we didn’t want to be at dinner for two hours. But I enjoyed Verde and am willing to give them another chance. I hope they can figure out the kinks in the service before I come in again.

Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina on Urbanspoon

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