Near the end of Elm Street, on the very edge of Porter Square, a bright orange and green storefront announces the local Mexican restaurant, Aguacate Verde. The small eatery is instantly inviting – the door remains propped open in mild weather, allowing the sizzling sounds and enticing flavors emanating from the tiny kitchen to greet visitors as they approach. Once inside, the sun-soaked tables, each topped with a bottle of hot sauce, encourage patrons to stay, take a rest and order one – or several – of the restaurant’s excellent dishes.
Agaucate Verde, which translates to “green avocado,” is aptly named. The flavorful fruit is incorporated into many menu items, making it the restaurant’s signature ingredient. Chief among the avocado dishes, however, is the guacamole – the crown jewel of Agaucate Verde. It is not to be missed. This legendary guac is unmistakably fresh with hints of onion that add a refreshing crunch to the otherwise smooth and sweet dip. While it makes a wonderful side to most entrees, if you would prefer to have your guacamole as an appetizer or a stand-alone dish, be sure to ask for tortilla chips with your order (they are not automatically provided, but can easily be requested).
While the menu does give an excellent selection of familiar dishes, such as guacamole, tacos and burritos, Agaucate Verde stands out thanks to its other dishes. The menu offers many healthier versions of traditional items, with diet-friendly options marked by a heart-healthy symbol on the menu. For instance, the vegetarian quesadilla is heavy on the veggie fillings, and light on cheese, making this beloved tortilla dish more like a wrap than the Mexican classic.
Furthermore, menu items such as gorditas – a hamburger-shaped grilled sandwich, stuffed with beans, lettuce and avocado held together between warm corn tortillas – and pupusas – a kind of grilled corn pancake with cheese and meat fillings baked into the center – may be unfamiliar to many patrons. Aguacate Verde does a wonderful job with most items and provides ample opportunities for patrons to step outside their comfort zones with their effortlessly fresh and exciting options.
While some dishes, like the pupusa, may be bland at first, they’re simply an excellent excuse to use that bottle of hot sauce liberally. Other selections, like the decadent leche asada – a baked dessert somewhere in between cr??me brulee and pudding – are perfectly satisfying and served straight from the oven. These dishes are where Agaucate Verde shines.
While the food is certainly tasty, Agaucate Verde does have its drawbacks. The restaurant seems to quickly run out of popular items like flan or advertised specials, even early on in the evening. The eating experience, too, is overwhelmingly casual. Customers order at the kitchen counter and are sometimes called up to retrieve their own dishes, which are served in plastic baskets.
This atmosphere, however, can be relaxing and friendly. Aguacate Verde quickly fills up around 5 p.m. with famished and enthusiastic locals looking to kick back and enjoy a quick bite. But there is absolutely no need to dress up for a night out here. Whether this laid-back feeling enhances or detracts from the meal depends on the preferences of each dining party, and also their expectations for the meal. Arrive at Agaucate Verde hungry, ready for a simple meal and a fresh taste of traditional Latin American cuisine and you won’t be disappointed.
Agaucate Verde is located at 13 Elm Street and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays. It is closed on Mondays.