Greenville Eats - Villa Verde
Greenville Eats - Villa Verde
This week, TRG visits a local hit and tries the Dominican cuisine of Villa Verde.
Villa Verde started off as a local food truck in Greenville. With growing popularity based on its Dominican food, Villa Verde opened up a brick and mortar spot off of 10th street. Even though it is close to ECU's campus and student living, Villa Verde has established itself as a premier spot for lunch and dinner for all ages and groups. For the size of the restaurant, there is ample parking, including a parking lot and street parking. Since they are located closer to ECU's main campus, their decor is simple. What Villa Verde misses in decor and ambiance, they more than makeup for it with their menu and flavors. When visiting Villa Verde, it is important to remember not to judge a book by its cover.
Villa Verde's service gives its patrons the first sense of Dominican culture. While their servers are attentive and polite, there is a sense of family and community when visiting. Their servers speak to their customers as if they were coming in to eat at their own home. The staff is knowledgeable and receptive that Dominican cuisine is unfamiliar to Greenville residents. The most difficult part of trying a new restaurant is not knowing what to order. With the wait staff at Villa Verde, it feels as if they suggest food and plates that they would want their family members to order. Their pricing is average for Greenville, meaning that you will not break the bank to eat here. For lunch, the entrees averaged around $10. The speed of their service was neither low nor fast, but average for Greenville.
Villa Verde offers a full menu for lunch and dinner, along with appetizers and dessert for our readers with a bit of a sweet tooth. Their menu honors traditional Dominican cuisine. For our readers that are unfamiliar with Dominican food, Villa Verde is the correct place to get introduced to a new style of food.
TRG was able to try an entree, a classic sandwich, and a Dominican favorite. Let's first dissect the entree: Seafood Paella. An old adage is, "You eat with your eyes first." If this is true, then the Seafood Paella satiates your eye's appetite. Presentation is key for this dish. The photograph for this blog is our picture of the Seafood Paella as it was presented. The presentation is as stunning as the flavors. Not only does this dish look immaculate but the taste did not disappoint. This dish offers portions for 1 - 4 people. Regardless of the portion size, Villa Verde gives you your money' worth. Shrimp, calamari, mussels, lobster, peppers, onions, peas and maduros sit atop a bed of rice. This classic Spanish dish is revitalized with the use of Villa Verde's secret Dominican seasonings. If you are craving a filling seafood dish, look no further. The secret Dominican seasonings give this dish a lasting impression. This is not your normal seafood paella. Villa Verde's rendition of this dish is savory, with a hint of spice that is needed to break-up the salty savoriness of the seafood.
Next, TRG tried another classic, the Cuban Sandwich, Villa Verde style. The Villa Verde Cuban Sandwich meets all the criteria. Pork shoulder, ham, swiss cheese, mustard and pickles on Cuban bread served with a side of plantain chips. Where Villa Verde separates itself from other Cuban sandwiches is with the pork shoulder. The pork shoulder is succulent and adds the fatty base for the sandwich. Cutting through the savoriness of the pork, ham and swiss, you get a nice bite from the mustard followed by the saltiness of the pickles. Top all of that off with crunchy Cuban bread, and you have yourself one succesful sandwich. The plantain chips are phenomenal when dipped into the Villa Verde sauce. If you are looking for a "safe" and delectable dish, Villa Verde's best seller is what we recommend.
Lastly, TRG tasted a classic Dominican dish, Asopao. Asopao is a classic Dominican style gumbo. Again, the use of secret Dominican spices is found in this dish. This gumbo-style dish has a melting pot of ingredients. There are pieces of celery, peas, onions, and peppers along with rice and a choice of protein. This reviewer has never had Dominican comfort food but I am willing to guess that this is one of those dishes. All of the comfort of a gumbo style dish with the use of Dominican spices makes this one of Villa Verde's underrated dishes.
Our readers should definitely branch out and give Villa Verde the ol' college try. Their unique flavors and family-style service will have you understand why so many people in Greenville are raving about Greenville's little corner of the Dominican Republic.
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