Restaurant critic MC Slim JB bestows high praise upon Jamaica Plain's own Casa Verde in the current issue of the Improper Bostonian.
In addition to boasting a fine beer list, the restaurant's house margarita, here known as the Gunsmoke ($9), substitutes the liqueur crema de mezcal for tequila, "resulting in easily the best cordial-based margarita I've ever tasted" -- one of many fine liqueur-based drinks on the menu that "turn a handicap into an asset," he writes.
The food menu "skips through a few regions of Mexico, building on simple, high-quality bases and relying on vibrant salsas, herb-enhanced cremas and intricate moles to provide depth and flavor." In particular, he calls out guacamole ($8) "pureed smooth and bracingly acidic from tomatillos," the chili-marinated fried smelts taco ($4), "a Baja fish taco by way of Southern Italy" (from "a lineup of abundantly filled tacos rife with unusual options") and bacaloa a la Vizcaina ($15), "a mound of mild, tender salt cod chunks braised in tomatoes with onions, olives and capers and garnished with radishes, an exquisitely briny, piquant echo of Basque cuisine."
"Ultimately," he writes, "Casa Verde stands as a testament to the range of its owners, showing they can bull's-eye a laid-back, bar-centric concept as winningly as their posher efforts."
The review also notes that Casa Verde, like its sister restaurants Tres Gatos and Centre Street Cafe, adds a 3 percent "hospitality fee" to each check to boost the pay of kitchen staff -- a topic that was discussed at length on Jamaica Plain News, with much input from the owners.
You can read the full review in the Improper Bostonian.