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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Dorchester Renaissance: Venetian Garden Restaurant

Venetian Garden Restaurant
Venetian Garden Restaurant

I was pleasantly surprised to find a restaurant that serves oxtail in Dorchester. The outside of Venetian Garden Restaurant is festively decorated with wood lobsters adorning the front. Small palm fronds and annuals grow in the flower boxes outside. The street is busy and full of traffic, but there is ample free parking on the street. The place is empty during the day. The televisions play sports. At night the place is jumping, couples dance to Latin music under the soft light of a disco ball.

Venetian Garden Restaurant serves Spanish and International cuisine. The atmosphere is casual and friendly. At night people are very friendly and happy to talk to strangers. Venetian Garden is a family restaurant and the wait staff and bartenders have a good relationship with the clientele. In each of my three visits the wait staff were very attentive. It helps to speak a little bit of Spanish when visiting the Venetian Garden. Sometimes it is the little things that indicate whether a restaurant can pass muster. If a restaurant can’t get the basics right, how can they hope to do the big stuff? The silverware at Venetian Garden was notably spotless.

I had the appetizer, shrimp cabiche. Cabiche is a style of cooking meat without using heat. The meat is pickled in acidic juices until it is edible. This style only works with certain types of meat. The shrimp cabiche was appropriately tangy with a mouth watering relish. Fresh, lightly cooked heads of broccoli that balance the tang.

The menu ranges from the very affordable to more pricey dishes (around $25). I will tell you about the more affordable offerings. The margarita was $5, and the waitress read our minds, of course we wanted salted rims. The daiquiri was $5 and full of fresh fruit. The Avocado salad on the menu looked good at $3, but when I went, the restaurant was out of avocados.

The beef kebab ($8) was a little bit overcooked. It seemed as though the beef had been braised in the sauce rather than barbecued in the traditional Indian kebab fashion. The sauce was very good. The oxtail was similarly simmered over a low heat, and the meat was very tender. The oxtail was finger food, I had to pick it up to get all of the meat off the bone, and to suck the marrow out. These entrees came with a side salad, which was okay. It is nice to have something light and healthy to complement all of savory meats. The hamburger looked good not great. The French fries were mezza mezza too. The rice, which came in a heaping pile on a separate plate was a little bit too much, and it was a bit crunchy. I would rather have rice that had been cooked in chicken broth. The rice was too white. I recommend opting for fried plantains.

The Venetian Garden is a great place to kick back and enjoy some good company and good food. The kitchen takes orders until 1:15 am, and the place closes at 2am. They accept credit cards. The fruit was very fresh. The Venetian Garden Restaurant is located at 1269 Mass Ave, Dorchester, Massachusetts, right down the road from Super 88.