Green Land Cafe – Salem, MA
I ran the Run For Your Lives Zombie 5k Obstacle Race in Amesbury, MA this Saturday. (A rompingly ghoulish time if being chased by zombies, sloshing through mud and finding dirt a day later in crevices you didn’t even know existed sounds like fun!) After the run, Joyce and I traded zombies for witches. We drove to Salem, MA in search of dinner.
What do we know about Salem? Outside of what I learned about the 17th-century Salem witch trials from Winona Ryder in the 1996 movie, The Crucible… not much!
There’s plenty of witch-related kitsch in Salem. We waded past it all to discover what Salem was truly like – at least from a food perspective. This led us to Green Land Cafe in the historic portion of downtown Salem.
As an appetizer, Joyce and I shared a large bowl of Prince Edward Island mussels in chorizo tomato wine and cream sauce. The mussels were consistently sized and succulent. The sauce? Holy cow. Insanely decadent, creamy and tangy, we mopped up every last drop with bread. Pleasantly surprised, the stage was set for a great dinner.
Joyce ordered the grilled Berkshire pork chop with bourbon mashed sweet potato, garlic and lemon sauteed spinach and homemade spiced applesauce. The medium-rare chop was silky, tender, juicy and mildly smokey. The interplay between the pork and the spiced applesauce created a great balance.
More often than not, pork chops we’ve ordered at restaurants are tough and dry – or become dry halfway through the meal. The risk of these bad experiences is well worth it since the perfect pork chop is an absolute treat. Green Land Cafe’s dish hit the mark.
I tried Green Land’s most popular dish, the cajun blackened grouper with sweet corn risotto. The fish was nicely spiced, although patrons expecting a mildly spicy dish may be overwhelmed. The rub definitely had a strong kick. The risotto was simply made with fresh ingredients and had a perfect velvety creaminess. As much as I love fish, the risotto was the highlight of my dish.
The Green Land Cafe’s brick walls, adorned with flickering candles and dark wood accents, commemorate the restaurant’s New England origins. The restaurant’s atmosphere was also comfortable and inviting.
Our meal was excellent with the exception of a few weak spots. Joyce’s sauteed spinach was very salty and my fish was slightly over cooked. Despite these few drawbacks, the quality of the meal, moderate price point and great ambiance would lead us to recommend Green Land Cafe to anyone visiting Salem, MA.
Tray Tables Up Rating: 7/10
Green Land Cafe
87 Washington Street
Salem, MA 01970