La Puerta Verde
Ari Gejdenson has big plans for growing his restaurant empire in town, Mindful Restaurant Group. He started with Acqua Al 2, then came Ghibellina, followed by Denson Liquor Bar, Harold Black, Sotto, and his newest ventures in Ivy City including Ari's Diner, Dock FC, and La Puerta Verde. In speaking with Ari, he reflected that many of the staff running his numerous kitchens across town are Mexican, and it only seemed fitting to finally open his first Mexican restaurant and to serve some of the amazing food that his staff has been enjoying for years.
It's apparent that Mindful Restaurant Group put a incredible amount of time and effort into the décor and atmosphere at La Puerta Verde. The walls of the restaurant are adorned with bold and colorful murals by DC's own artist Chelove, the floors are covered with intricate tile work, and there is one large wooden communal table that can be pulled apart to accommodate individual parties as well. The menu at La Puerta Verde is the perfect size including a handful of shared appetizers, a variety of taco options which are also served next door at Dock FC, and a few large plates for the table. The elote with spicy citrus mayo, chile, and cojita cheese is classic and delicious. While messy, it's hard to beat this essential Mexican corn on the cob. The esquites con camarones is not to be missed. This dish starts with a piece of grilled bread and is topped with sauteed shrimp, smoked corn, tequila, and a creamy espazote sauce. The best way to eat it is to just cut into the bread, soak up as much sauce as you can, and take a bite to allow all of the different flavors and ingredients to work together. It's a delicious dish.
I was equally wowed by the Carne Arrachera which is very generous plate of grilled skirt steak, chorizo, cactus paddle, tomatillo, spring onions, and queso fresco. The meat was grilled perfectly, and I loved the grilled lemons served on the side which I squeezed all over the juicy steak. Everything paired nicely with the cilantro rice and the charro beans which come with the large plates on the menu. In addition to the great food, La Puerta Verde serves a mean margarita with mezcal in addition to a classic margarita with tequila among many other cocktails.
La Puerta Verde is definitely reason enough to head over to Ivy City. I love the atmosphere, and I think it is a really fun environment for a group dinner with friends. It's a great addition to Mindful Restaurant Group's growing list of establishments, and it's a great new Mexican food option for the city.