Featured photo: Shrimp tacos from El Cabo Verde.
The brick-and-mortar location of Chef Gabriel Balderas’s El Cabo Verde (1023 Provenance Place, Suite 210, Shreveport) is now open for regular business hours following a “soft opening” phase that ended in early November. El Cabo Verde is known to many local food lovers as a pop-up vendor of tacos, tamales, carnitas and other Mexican favorites as well as a line of certified organic salsas that can be purchased in local stores.
Gabriel Balderas, the chef behind El Cabo Verde, was named a “2016 Chef to Watch” by Louisiana Cookin’ magazine and was recently profiled by Louisiana Life magazine (full disclosure: I wrote that profile). The restaurant serves popular Tex-Mex and Mexican favorites such as flautas, tacos, enchiladas and more in a sophisticated-looking, all-white dining room designed by Balderas’s wife, Brooke. The blog Pond & Parlor has a great post with more insights into the design of the restaurant.
The chips, made using preservative-free tortillas, are airy and crisp – almost like Indian papadums. The complimentary dishes of salsa that diners receive – roasted tomato and roasted tomatillo – are outstanding. The rice that accompanies many dishes is flavorful jasmine rice cooked in chicken stock and scented with lemon zest, a far cry from typical “restaurant-style” Mexican rice. Tortillas used in entrees are made in-house and have a taste and texture unlike any others in the city.
The restaurant has only been open for a short time, but their shrimp tacos have already emerged as a top seller, according to both Gabriel and Brooke. They are delicious and simple: perfectly cooked shrimp on those fresh tortillas with a spicy aioli dressing and a dollop of guacamole. I didn’t go for brunch, but was excited to see the brunch menu: various styles of chilaquiles, huevos rancheros, benedicts and simple breakfast tacos.
There is no shortage of places to get tacos or enchiladas in Shreveport-Bossier, but El Cabo Verde sets itself apart through the sheer quality of these dishes. Everything is made from scratch using ingredients that are certified organic and/or locally sourced. It’s become popular for restaurants that emphasize fresh ingredients to point out that they “don’t have a freezer;” El Cabo Verde doesn’t have a can opener. As a result, every little thing that you will encounter here is the product of a lot of hard work – and it shows.
El Cabo Verde
1023 Provenance Place Blvd.
Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Fri., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sun., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Like El Cabo Verde on Facebook.
Read our July 2015 interview with Gabriel Balderas.