Sunday, March 30, 2008

Green Plantains Restaurant

Today after church, my wife and I tried Green Plantains, a newly-opened restaurant in Gainesville and found a fusion cuisine that was just as tasty as it was well-conceived. Billing the restaurant as "Nuevo Chino Latino cuisine" I must admit their description made my head swim with fears of over-revved globalization, too many styles in one place.

We were very, very pleased with our Sunday lunch meals. My wife had their Grilled Churrasco Special Combo with yellow rice and a salad with white balsamic vingarette. Her skirt steak was very tender, more so than the ones I make (darn it) and perfectly seasoned. Her entree portion was generous with two moderately sized steak pieces served on a square Asian-style dish. The yellow rice was home-made and rich in flavor, not like the bagged yellow stuff available in many grocery stores.

I ordered the Mojito Chicken Special Combo. I must admit that this style of cooking chicken may be my very favorite, a recipe I first had at a Latin restaurant chain in Orlando, El Pollo Loco. The chicken is marinaded with spices and garlic and lime juice before being grilled. I will not sleep until I master a recipe for this Mojito chicken.

My sides included a mini Mofongo, which appeared to be a espanada with seafood inside. The salad and vinegarette was average, but lent a refreshing balance to the meal. A serving of Hispanic red beans and rice was served beside a a seafood patty made with lobster, shrimp, and crab meat. Very flavorful and not overwhelming. My meal was served in an Asian box type of plate that I have seen in local Korean restaurants.

The restaurant is casual in a new shopping center on 34th St. just north of the Williston Road. One orders at the front counter before seating yourself in an attractive room decorated with Miami art deco colors and sophisticated lighting.

Green Plantains serves lunch specials from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Priced at $4.95, they should prove popular and tasty. Dishes such as Ropa Vieja, Mojito Chicken, and Bourbon Boneless Ribs are served with a side of rice and beans. Nearby student apartment dwellers and Oak Hammock residents will want to frequent GP's at least once a week.

Green Plantains restaurant is a gem in a sea of chain restaurants. They serve a fusion of three world cuisines effortlessly with meals both tasty and affordable. Give them a shot, you won't be disappointed.

For more information, check out their web site at

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