With my group of friends, birthdays are a big deal. Especially for the girls, we don’t just celebrate for a day – it’s typically at least a full weekend (or week, or sometimes month). We’re just festive and will take any reason to celebrate. So this past weekend was one of BFF’s birthdays and we celebrated in style, including a large group dinner at Green Lemon in SoHo.
The atmosphere is casual and open, with large wood beams and open ceiling. It’s a combination of big bright-colored booths and tables, inviting you to stay awhile. The walls are painted with fun, entertaining artwork (see: left) They also had a really great Happy Hour (even on a Sunday!) with specials on several different margaritas and food.
Thankfully, they do take reservations since we had a large party and we were seated on time. The tables though were placed under some sort of vent that was leaking right onto us. After a few minutes of confusion and figuring out how to handle it (thankfully the whole group was not there yet) we moved some tables around and were able to escape the dripping. They also gave us several complimentary trio dips and chips (with guacamole, salsa, and queso) to apologize for the inconvenience.
The service was okay, not bad, but not spectacular either. The restaurant was busy, but certainly not crazy busy to warrant the weird service. The bartender was making drinks out of order from when we placed them, and half the table would get their drinks and we’d wait another ten minutes before the others would arrive. Our waiter was very nice, but a little spacey. And he wasn’t at table when some of the food arrived to help figure out whose was whose. Thankfully, we were not at all in a hurry, and spent time just chatting and all catching up. However, I think if it had been a smaller group, the slow service would have created a more awkward experience.
However, any service issues were made up by the amazing food. I got a Happy Hour special Green Lemon margarita made with blanco tequila, Triple Sec and a blend of citrus juices, served on the rocks. It was strong, and worth the money. For dinner, J. and I both got the “street trio” combo were we got to pick three tacos with a side of rice and beans. We decided to get six different tacos between the two of us so we could try a little of everything.
The six we tried were:
- Carne asada: grilled marinated skirt steak, salsa fresca, cabbage and freshly squeezed lime
- Americano: grilled chicken, black bean puree, guacamole, cheddar cheese, pico de gallo and sour cream
- Cerdo perfecto: adobo pulled pork, black beans, bell peppers, sweet plantains and mojo vinaigrette
- Carnitas: roasted tender adobo pork, cabbage, salsa fresca, chile de arbol sauce and queso fresco.
- Carne enchilada: spicy shredded beef, pickled red onion, jalapenos, pineapple relish and chile de arbol sauce
- Ancho chicken: grilled chicken, avocado, pickled red onions, cilantro, queso fresco and chile de arbol sauce
All six tacos were fresh and delicious. You can also choose your style of tortilla, which I really appreciated as I love soft corn tortillas! There was a good amount of meat in each one and I thought the flavors were unique and paired well together. Nothing was overly spicy either (even the “spicy shredded beef”) which let the other flavors really shine through. My favorite was the cerdo perfecto – mojo vinaigrette cut through the fattiness of the pork and the sweet plantains were nice sweet bite at the end.
In the end, we had a wonderful time there and the whole group agreed we would come back. Perhaps it was an off night for service (being right before the holiday), but regardless, the quality of food shines through, making Green Lemon worth the visit!