- Written and photographed by Jenna Palacio
In December of 2014, Verde Mexican Rotisserie opened its doors in Meyers Station and raised the bar for sustainable, “local-vore” dining in Lake Tahoe. Owners Domi and Katy Chavarria, and chef Jeremy Sherman (all born and raised in Tahoe) have cultivated a haven for concerning foodies with Verde’s feel-good menu items sourced from local farms and ranches exercising humane practices.
Sustainability and an emphasis for all things local exude the minute one enters Verde’s mountain-modern interior. The tables, benches and counter tops are all made from reclaimed deck wood from the Tahoe Keys. The chalk art, menu and black and white prints on that grace the walls are all creations of local artists. The unique and highly popular Paleo plate was borne from the recommendation of South Shore Crossfit guru Del Lafontain. My Paelo plate came with a hunk of rotisserie chicken love, roasted organic sweet potatoes, dairy-free slaw and a side of Chimichurri sauce (a family recipe, made with house-pickled jalapenos and onions). Even the rotating beers on tap were crowd sourced from Verde’s Facebook page when the owners asked what folks would like to sip by the fire pit in the new outdoor dining area.
As someone who typically opts for the meat eater’s side of the menu, the Verde Burrito was a hearty surprise and is hands down one of the best vegetarian burritos I’ve sank my teeth into. Loaded with organic black beans and sweet potatoes, melty cheese made from hormone and antibiotic-free grass-fed cow’s milk and an unbashful amount of freshly made guacamole, this bad boy was easily over a pound in weight and as satisfying as it was nutritious. The flavor profiles of the black beans and not-too-sweet potatoes worked well with the house-made salsas. I opted for both the 911 and green style, much to my palate’s delight. I should note: Verde is not a taqueria. Abandon any expectation of getting a low-cost burrito and accept that the high-quality menu items are made for locals, by locals and worth every penny.
Much of Verde’s menu starts as vegetarian or vegan items, but can have a variety of carnivore-approved substances added; like free range rotisserie-roasted chicken from Petaluma Farms, humanely raised pork from Beeler’s, grass-fed rotisserie tri tip from Creekstone Farms, or line-caught Mahi Mahi. The simplicity of the perfectly seasoned and blackened Mahi Mahi must be incredible in the fish tacos, and I found it to be an excellent addition to my salad – which was taken to a whole new level with the exotic Spring Mix blend Verde uses. I’ve never seen anything like what was in my salad bowl: tiny pea shoots, rose petals, micro vines and greens accompanying the purple frisée and baby lettuces, all organic and from Sacramento’s Del Rio Botanical.
Even Verde’s perception is ironically local. Rumors continue to swirl about this haute new restaurant being affiliated with another Mexican rotisserie restaurant in the North Shore (not true). And the die-hard sentiment of driving the few miles across town is often deemed “too far” by South Shore dwellers (Verde does offer catering if you’re of that persuasion). My advice: step on the gas and get to Verde for a not-to-be-missed dining experience that feels as good as it tastes.