LA VALENCA RESTAURANT – Elizabeth NJ
Another great find, and sometimes it happens just from ordering takeout. You see a place, it looks nice, but you are not ready to commit to spending money for a date or family, so you get takeout to test it out. After a few times, you are impressed, and you commit to dining in.
When you finally do decide to dine in, you will be greeted with a delicious assortment of green and black olives in garlic and olive oil, as well as a basket of bread and a large bowl of salad with tomatoes, onions, black olives and shredded carrots. Seeing how most places only bring you bread or water, olives and a salad is a great way to welcome diners sitting down to a meal. Keep in mind the surroundings are very casual, a fully loaded bar, with ever spirit you can imagine, and a street view on the other side. Its casual dining, but good atmosphere and food at a reasonable price. Lunch for two with an appetizer and 3 beers with tip cost less than $70, and that was with 2 doggie bags for leftovers because the portions were so large, this could have easily been a meal for 4 people.
So, the appetizer? Well, it was actually my favorite, clams and portuguese sausage in a white wine sauce, lemon, parsley, and maybe butter, not sure, but definitely some sort of olive oil… it was my favorite, and I used the bread to clean up the plate.
Clams in Garlic Sauce & Wine with Sausage Valença Style
So, the main entrees come, they are on the lunch specials menu. My friend and host ordered the rice with seafood. What you see below is a full half crab, plenty of clams, cockles, shrimp, some bay scallops, mussels and a ton of rice. Lots of broth, the rice was good, but I don’t like my rice so wet. It was nonetheless, very good, though very heavy on the garlic.
My dish comes and as described, it was to be “marinated fried beef cubes in a wine sauce with shrimp and sausage” – A Trifecta, who can resist? The bonus… the homemade fried potato chips which you can really only get at a great Portuguese restaurant. As you can see, it was a heaping portion for two. Plenty of potatoes, plenty of beef, a lot of green and red peppers, some onions, black olives, peccoroncini and even some marinated cauliflower. The shrimp was there, but I only save one or two thin slices of sausage. I don’t mind, but if you are going to list it as an ingredient, I would have like to have seen more, my idea is 25% vegetables, 25% shrimp, 25% beef, 25% potatoes – and, if that is not possible due to supply or pricing, at least a stronger display of more than 10% of any item. 1-2 Sausage slice would have been about less than 5%, but its all good, I am already full and while I found the beef a bit chewy, this is what it is, and for lunch, its all good, and I was filled with plenty of leftovers for later that night.
This place is known for its BBQ (Churrasco) like chicken and ribs, so there is definitely a 2nd visit in the future for this place. Great service, great prices, great portions, great atmosphere, if I lived in this neighborhood I would certainly be here every week.
La Velença valencarestaurantnj.com
665 Monroe Avenue Elizabeth NJ 07201
Restaurant: 908-354-2525 Take Out: 908-354-4024