A friend once set me up with this guy who was perfect on paper. He went to a good college, seemed to have a great job, and was pretty hot, at least according to his photos on plentyoffish.com. A couple of dates later, all of the above proved true, but he also still listened to Dave Matthews and only wanted to talk about lacrosse. So basically, he ended up being the human equivalent of a dry Thanksgiving turkey. That’s Colonia Verde.
On the surface, everything about this restaurant was, and still is, very attractive. A couple of friends raved about it. The cocktail list is interesting. The menu - Latin-American with some Mediterranean - sounds like a delicious combination of the best of both worlds. Even the space is awesome - a dimly-lit and well-decorated cave that sprawls back through a couple of rooms and a greenhouse, finally ending in a spacious garden decked out in string lights. Nobody doesn't love string lights.
So, what’s wrong with us? Why don’t we love you, Colonia Verde? Like my charming date who just wanted me to crash into him, everything on this menu presents very well, but most of it is insanely bland. I actually thought for a second that I must have blacked out before dinner and powered through a carton of Marlboro Reds, because I really couldn’t taste a thing I was eating. That's not what you want from Latin cuisine.
The good news/bad news here is that with a few tweaks to the food, Colonia Verde would be certifiably awesome. Basically, they need to throw in an extra handful of whatever flavors they’re showcasing in each dish, and then throw in a handful more. It just seems like they are holding themselves back on the seasoning, and for no good reason. Either way, we tried really hard to love this place, and we get what they’re trying to put out there. But while it’s not the most expensive restaurant out there, it’s also not the cheapest, and when you spend that kind of cash you expect a lot more. Thankfully, unlike that guy who didn’t work out, there is room for improvement. But until they step it up, Colonia Verde is just going to be an occasional hookup at best.
Grilled Colombian Style Arepas
The arepas here are great. The problem with even good arepas, though, is that without flavorful add-ons, they’re a little boring. The shrimp and leek ricotta didn’t have enough flavor at all, so good as it was, it just wasn’t enough.
Brussels Sprouts Caesar
A surprisingly good salad, and a good way to get some greens in. If you can get past the concept of a warm caesar with no crunch, the roasted brussels sprouts and tangy dressing work really well together.
A ceviche that simply lacks flavor. The mango and avocado are (obviously) great together, but there isn't enough of either, and whatever punch was intended fell apart because of it.
This steak was a hair overcooked, but it was also still pink inside and had a good char. And the salsa and sweet potatoes that accompanied were delicious. Colonia Verde is good at grilling things. They should do more of that.
Poblano Pepper Fettuccine
This is one of the better dishes, despite having some issues, which is saying something. The noodles were obviously fresh and perfectly cooked, and there was a good, if faint, poblano taste somewhere in that bolognese. Unfortunately, it was too weak. More poblano por favor.
This chicken was cooked well but we didn’t even notice the supposed chorizo in the dish, if it was actually there. For once, the black cherry quinoa on the plate was actually over flavored and was way too overpowering, not to mention there was way too much of it. This is a definite skip.
Basically, these are churro-fried donuts. There’s really no way to go wrong with that, and Colonia Verde delivers. The desserts here are among the best items on the menu.
Made in Mexico
This coffee and Mexican chocolate flavored mousse is excellent. The texture is perfectly creamy and light, and the coffee and cinnamon flavors were reminiscent of everything you’d expect a Mexican mousse to be. Order it.