Verde Mexican Kitchen and Cantina

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week is from August 13-19, 2012. Luckily, I returned home from Europe on August 16. Just in time to visit a few restaurants participating (more to come on the trip). Initially, we made reservations at Bite Bistro. I was really excited to try it however, they closed on August 12. So we looked for another place to go and chose Verde Mexican Kitchen and Cantina. It had to be a good choice because they have my favorite food, chips and salsa.

We made reservations using Open Table. It was a good thing we did because they were very busy. In fact, someone came in before us and asked for a table and was told that they were booked for the evening. The Open Table App is great. You can easily make reservations at any time, even when the restaurant is closed. The restaurant is on the modern side but, it is a slight challenge to find parking because it is street parking and there is another very popular restaurant nearby. 

Once we were seated, we were promptly served complimentary chips and salsa. 

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The salsa is a roasted green tomatillo salsa. It is a little on the sweet side for my taste so I asked for hot sauce. It seems like it is the perfect salsa for those who do not enjoy cilantro. 

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The hot sauce was smoky and not all that hot, but provided a nice kick of heat to the salsa. The chips were fantastic. They were perfectly salted and the perfect thickness for dipping. 

For restaurant week, Verde offered a Fixed-Price Three Course Meal for $25. All of the items are available on the regular menu. We decided to start with the made to order guacamole. 

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It was a huge serving of guacamole and featured a garnish of red onion, tomato, and some chopped herbs and jalapeño. It was good, but the hot sauce made it fantastic.

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For our second appetizer, we chose the Fritos De Camarones y Maiz. They are cornmeal fritters with shrimp, and avocado creme. These were really delicious. They contained several pieces of shrimp in each fritter and the mixture of the avocado crema really made the subtle flavor of the shrimp sing. I would order these again,

For our entrees, we decided to choose two different options. We went with the carne asada and the enchiladas de verdure. 

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The carne asada was highly recommended by our waitress. She said that she is not a steak person and she thinks this is a delicious meal. I believe she said that it was a flank steak, which we ordered rare, and it comes with a tangy chimichurri sauce. The real star of this dish is the sweet potato puree. It is silky and has a hint of vanilla flavor. In addition, the dish is served with perfectly fried, crispy onions. The perfect compliment to the warm, sweet potatoes, cool meat, and tangy chimichurri sauce. While I am not a steak person, I would order this again just for those delicious sweet potatoes. 

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Our second entree was the Enchiladas De Verduras. It features escarole, smoked tomato, mushrooms, caramelized onions, queso blanco, and salsa roja with a side of rice and black beans. Before our entree came, I over heard a woman at the next to us saying that the sauce tasted like chile powder. She was right. It is a bit overwhelming with a chile powder flavor. I love escarole and mushrooms and was very excited to try this however, the sauce made me wish that it was a little more subtle so I could enjoy the flavors of the fresh ingredients. 

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For dessert, we tried both options. One was the sorbet of the day. It happened to be Mango. It had a creamy texture and had a pop of mango flavor. For me, it was just a little too sweet but delicious none the less. Plus it was overshadowed by the star of the meal, the bread pudding. 

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Our Tres Leches Bread Pudding arrived at our table dripping down the arm of the server. (I think the gorgeous glass plate was probably not the best choice to serve this gooey treat on). was gooey and creamy with a few raisins. I am a raisin hater but in this dish, I really enjoyed them. It had a slightly crispy crust. It was so good. It tasted like cinnamon and cream. I would go back for this dessert. 

Overall, we really enjoyed our dinner at Verde Mexican Kitchen and Cantina. It was fresh, well prepared, and the service was great. I am happy that we chose to go there for Pittsburgh Restaurant Week

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