MORRIS PLAINS — Imagine someone took your Grandmother’s house and converted it into a warm, cozy, and comfortable little Italian eatery. That is the vibe you get when visiting Verde’s Ristorante, on Tabor Road in Parsippany. Verde’s, the pride and passion of brothers, Mendin and Verdi Kaba, and now Joseph Basta, was opened in 2005 and clearly joins that impressive list of high-quality, gourmet, small, independent, family-owned Italian restaurants that we should consider fortunate to have right here in Morris County.
Unfortunately, Verde’s current owner, Joseph Basta, was not available during my visit but has stated in previous interviews that it is his vision and mission to provide delicious food in a warm, friendly, and relaxing environment. Based on my past and present visits at Verde; and considering the 16 years that they have been meeting the high expectations of their many regular, returning customers, I would have to say that they have accomplished that goal.
To the restaurant’s credit, they are known for generously contributing to many local causes and charities from around Morris County. As a matter of fact, 15% of my meal on the evening I visited was contributed to the local area Kiwanis Club Greater Parsippany. Thanks for that!
Located right on Tabor Road, Verde is easy to find by its attractive signage and contemporary look. Their off-road parking lot is more than adequate to meet your needs, and I understand that pre-pandemic they offered valet parking. A large white tent covering is prominently set up on the roadside section of the building, where attractive, patio-style, al fresco dining is available for those so inclined. It was a nice night on my visit, and several diners were enjoying their meals while outdoors. As I alluded to, the interior sends off a warm and homey vibe. The decorative entry, wooden floors, relaxing earthy colors, subdued lighting, beautiful oil paintings on the walls, carefully appointed linen-covered tables, soft, easy listening, background music, all blended perfectly together to create a pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming ambiance. This is a casual/classy restaurant that hits all the buttons and would be an excellent choice for a family night out, a romantic dinner, or just a friendly get-together. And yes, Verde was sparkling clean and in clear conformance with all current pandemic health recommendations.
Verde Manager, Dilan Sela, an enthusiastic, hospitable, and friendly host, warmly welcomed us and provided us with our choice of tables. Verde is a BYOB, and the vino we brought along was quickly uncorked and poured. A generously sized basket of warm Italian bread and butter also quickly appeared. As we looked over our menu, which focuses on a limited selection of outstanding choices, Dilan was more than happy to make himself available to join us in some casual conversation about both the restaurant and the menu, while our very attentive waiter, Lee, was making sure that we had everything we needed. It was obvious that Dilan enjoyed what he was doing, as well as how much pride he had in Verde. Great customer service all around. All those little details, those personalized, individualized touches can often make the difference between a mediocre and a great dining experience.
For our appetizers we chose the Bacon Wrapped Scallops, which were served with a nice scoop of richly textured and slightly al dente Risotto and drizzled with a delicious Brandy Cream Sauce; and the classic, Broccoli Rabe and Sausage.
As soon as we took our first bite of both of our shared appetizers, we both just looked up in agreement that they were both outstanding dishes. The fresh, firm, nicely sized scallops were succulent, buttery, delicate, and slightly sweet, and of course, everything tastes better when wrapped in properly prepared bacon, and the sweet, citrusy, brandy cream sauce was a savory complement to the dish.
I could have easily finished off a plate of these and left a happy diner. The sausage mounded over a serving of broccoli rabe was also delectable. Cooked in a flavorful oil, the tasteful sweet sausage was fried perfectly with a nice bite and texture, and with that just-right, light, garlic taste, and enhanced by the slightly bitter, nutty, delicate taste of the broccoli rabe.
I decided on one of the evening’s specials; Coconut Crusted Chilean Sea Bass served over broccoli rabe and drizzled with a mango reduction sauce. I have never had my fish coconut-crusted so that did sound like something I would like to try. The fresh Chilean Sea Bass was scrumptious, perfectly prepared, and had that smooth and buttery taste you are looking for with this dish. The white and flaky Sea Bass was moist, juicy, had a great texture, and basically melted in my mouth. The taste of the coconut went exceptionally well with the fish and provided a creative spin to this dish, while the slightly sweet, creamy, fruity taste of the mango sauce added that next level of flavor. Excellent!
My friend went with the Pork Osso Bucco, over Risotto, with a Port Wine Demi-glacé. Beautiful presentation and a generous-sized portion, as was my Chilean Seabass. He raved about it and stated that it was one of the best Osso Bucco’s he has ever had. A pretty high compliment.
Our desserts consisted of some traditional Italian favorites, Tiramisu and Cannoli, and of course, a Cappuccino. How can you not like the flavoring of cocoa, espresso, mascarpone cheese, and ladyfinger biscuits of a Tiramisu? A decadent dessert, that literally means “a pick me up” in Italy. Not to forget the crisp texture of a fully filled Cannoli. Thanks to Dilan and the Verde staff for all their genuine hospitality, delicious food, and an extraordinary culinary experience. Obviously, this is certainly a restaurant that I would recommend.
As always, please try to come out and help support all our local, small, independent businesses in any way that you can.
“A tavola non si invecchia”
Outdoor seating – Delivery – Takeout – Sit-down Dining – Curbside Pickup
Available Parking – BYOB. Closed on Monday.
Verde Ristorante is located at 1012 Tabor Road, Morris Plains, NJ 07950. (973) 539-8100; Verderistorante.com