La Puerta Verde

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In a long-awaited dinner reservation, my usual Friday night companions (aka my husband and in-laws) ventured to Ivy City to check out La Puerta Verde. Ivy City is trying, you guys. It’s trying really hard. And try as it might, La Puerta Verde was dead. I was actually embarrassed that I had made reservations for a place where we were the only people sitting at a table. But hey, that means good service, right?

The inside of this place is gorgeous. I was already feeling nostalgic for Mexico, and this just drove it home. How can I find their interior designer?

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As per usual, we started with drinks. I had the special pomegranate margarita, which was crisp, not-too-tart, not-too-sweet, and very refreshing. My husband ordered the LPV margarita, which claimed to be mezcal and cilantro puree. The only sign of cilantro puree was its distinct green-ness. Other than that, it was a smoke bomb. It would be perfect for your pretentious friend who always talks about how much he loves Scotch. It was also perfect for my father-in-law. Both of my parents-in-law ordered their special hurricane-relief mojito. The plus side was that the proceeds went to charity. The downside was that their bartender somehow forgot to add syrup and it just tasted like cold lime-water. I officially rule the cocktails a bust.

We ordered the elote loco for the table because when in Rome. If you’ve ever eaten street corn from the actual street, it sucks (at least in the States). El Chucho has managed to make theirs into the perfect melding of corn, cheese, and chili, with just the most perfect hint of chile. La Puerta Verde’s is alright. I mean, it’s corn and artisanal mayo so it couldn’t be bad. The corn was sweet and the chile was (in my opinion) understated.

Next up: entrees. I only got a taste of two of them because a certain dining companion (let’s just refer to her as “Monster”) gobbled up her shrimp dish without offering up even a taste. So first, I had the mole verde con pollo. The chicken was moist and cooked to the exact right temperature without going over. It was served with sauteed red onions and cactus, which I appreciated, but it didn’t have a solid texture. The mole verde was slightly nutty but overall kind of bland. On the other hand, my husband’s chamorro de cerdo was like taking a bite out of an angel’s wing, it was so tender, smoky, buttery, and well-seasoned. It also had a spicy green salsa, which was a great accompaniment.

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In general, the service was fast. However, our server was, shall we say, slightly over-salted. I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt because I, too, am prone to the occasional snark attack. I like to think I can dish it out, too, and she made me uncomfortable on a few occasions. She didn’t even offer us dessert! It was only through some keen internet sleuthing that I deduced that they offered tres leches cake. I wanted to not order it just to spite her, but then again… it’s tres leches, and I am a mere mortal, after all.

The tres leches was, sadly, fairly standard. Not the driest, not the moistest. It was topped with I assumed to be a dollop of whipped cream because I am a tres leches purist. But upon closer inspection, it was actually cream cheese. This shall not stand. Tres leches is the highest incarnation of cake, and it is a show of pure folly to believe that one can improve upon it.

Price: $30 per person.

Bottom line: La Puerta Verde was hit-or-miss. The main miss was their cocktails. The main hit was that tasty pork shank. Mad props to their decorator.

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