Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chile Verde Cafe, Great (New) Mexican

I've been meaning to post about Chile Verde Cafe for a while.

We've been regular customers of this small Mexican jewel for well over 15 years and for good reason: the all-made-from-scratch food is great and the staff has always been top notch. Chile Verde has always been a family business, and even now that a new family is running the place, it's still related in some way to the old family. The current owner, Tom Anthony is just as friendly a host as our old pal Julie was (Julie, we miss you and hope you are well!). We've seen waiters come and go, too, including our old regular waiter, Rob, but through it all, one thing has remained constant, and that is the quality of the food.

Ok, start with the salsa. nice fresh chips and the best salsa in all of Columbus. This photo doesn't do it justice.
It is a bit chunky with bits of onion, tomato, and peppers. It was the first salsa Boogie dug into and is still his favorite. Chile Verde was actually the first restaurant Boogie ever went to, at a couple of weeks old (shown here with me, a still weary mommy and Julie, Oct, 2000):
It is still Boogie's most requested place to go to for a night out or a weekend lunch.

On one recent visit, I had my favorite, the shredded beef chimichanga. Most of their selections come in a shredded beef variety (Chicken, too), soft tender, slow cooked, tasty shredded beef and plenty of it, too. I only have a shot of the half I brought home:
There's just the right amount of cheese over the top with a merlot mushroom sauce, too. And the side dishes - don't be afraid to stray from what the menu says each dish comes with, substitutions are allowed without question. While the rice is just o.k., the beans and potatoes really shine. There are 2 types of potato: the fabulously thin and crispy shoestring fries (even better than Steak and Shake's), and the mashed potatoes, flecked with red pepper. I usually get one of the potatoes and ALWAYS get the pinto beans. These are not your ordinary, bland run-of-the-mill refried Mexican restaurant refrieds. No, my friends, these are spicy, house-made tender-firm, spicy moist and meaty spicy beans. And their spicy, too. If you lucky, you'll go on a night that chef is mad about something and the potatoes and beans will have that little extra "kick" to them. You'll know...

Last weekend we visited for a late afternoon lunch. It was the first time that we've been there in a looong time without having to wait for a table. Of course, we're usually there for dinner and have a wait of at least 20-30 minutes even when we call ahead to get our name put on their list. This time, though, at about 3 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, we pretty much had the place to ourselves:

Boogie and I split the shredded beef nacho
with jalepenos, sour cream and guacamole. Between the two of us, we had no trouble cleaning that plate off. Karen had the shredded beef tacos. Be sure to ask for the red sauce on the side when you order tacos. They can be a bit plain without, but red sauce is the perfect completer for them.
The shredded beef burrito is also a family fav, as well as the enchilada. We usually pair them together in the CV Duo Plate.
Other items of note: chile rellenos, fajitas, green chili stew, beer, wine, margaritas and a children's menu.

If you live in Columbus and think Vaqueros is fab, you must try Chile Verde.
Those who know, don't go Vaquero.

In a nutshell, the food is consistently good, the service warm and friendly. The prices are more mid-range other Mexican places, but worth every cent. They also have a full margarita menu with each one made from a fresh on-site made mix. With their drinks, like their food, freshness reigns.

Some other reviews:
Columbus Alive, March, 2008

CMH Gourmand


Chile Verde Cafe is located at the west end of the Carriage Place Center, at 4852 Sawmill Rd., Columbus, Ohio
Call ahead for seating.



Kimberly said...

My husband introduced me to Chile Verde's several years ago and it's been a fav ever since. Love the new space!

Lorence, Columbus, Ohio said...

Timely comment, Kimberly! We were just there last night - Nachos, Enchiladas and a Chimi - Good stuff. I agree on the new space, it was very well done. I was talking with Tom about it, too, and he's really pleased, says they've been very busy - people see that they don't have to wait like they used to!