AMESBURY – Dominican born chef Elvis Jimenez-Chavez considers himself a “citizen of the world.” After cooking his way around the globe, he decided to take all of that flavor back to his current hometown of Amesbury.
“I didn’t want the restaurant to be specifically from one country. I just wanted to have a range of options from the Caribbean, Central America all the way to Argentina.”
You can find a true taste of Latin America at The Coop Rotisserie. Situated in on Main Street in the heart of Amesbury, The Coop is a casual, come-as-you-are type of place with a laid-back vibe and friendly service to help you navigate the menu.
Phantom tasted it all in search of THE PERFECT MEAL.
Appetizers range from crispy chicken wings slathered in a house made Caribbean chili sauce, to beautiful arepas overflowing with chicken, aged cheddar, avocado and diced tomato. For something different, there’s the Coop Montaditas, a grilled corn tortilla stuffed with cheese, chicken and all of the usual taco fillings.
“That is a marriage between a taco and a quesadilla,” Elvis explained. “All of the filling you would probably put in a taco, but it’s grilled flat like a quesadilla – but it’s crispier than a quesadilla. That is topped with salsa verde, salsa roja, mixed chili sauce, red peppers and cilantro. It melts in your mouth.”
For a true taste of the Coop, you have to order some of Elvis’ empanadas, a treat he has enjoyed since childhood.
“The ones that we have here are typical from the Caribbean. It’s a pastry you can stuff with pretty much anything you want. It’s flaky. It’s buttery. It’s a little spicy, a little sweet, not heavy even though its deep fried. We pair it with a nice light refreshing salad of greens that has been tossed with orange vinaigrette.”
The Sandwich section of The Coop’s menu should not be missed. There is a delicious crab burger – always fresh and served with plenty of sliced avocado, and a Cuban that’s packed with flavor. But you’ve really got to lay your lips on the Cariburger. Topped with green cabbage, cotija cheese, garlic serrano aioli, and chimichurri, this burger brings the flavors of the Caribbean to an American staple.
“When you bite into the Cariburger, you’ll taste a little bit of garlic, a little tanginess from the chimichurri, a little spiciness from the garlic serrano aioli, and a little crunchiness from the shredded green cabbage,” Elvis described. “Very good.”
The handhelds also make their way onto the entree menu with an oversized, overstuffed Beef Burrito, a meal so big that the kitchen has to cut it in half just so customers can pick it up.
There are also tender marinated beef tips served with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables. But since you’re at the Coop, a taste of their signature dish, the Caribbean Style Roasted Chicken, should be on your list. This poultry has been a crowd pleaser since day one.
“People that come here say that this is the best roasted chicken I’ve ever had, which is very humbling. They say that not only is it flavorful, it’s moist inside and there’s a little bit of spiciness, a little bit of smokiness, and tangy at the same time,” Elvis said. “The chicken marinates for at least 32 hours. It’s a must try. ”
At dessert, you can opt for the Mango Crème Brule or the Caramel Tres Leches Cake, but if you ask Elvis, he will recommend his great grandmother’s recipe for Caribbean Pineapple Rum Bread Pudding.
“When I first had it as a child it was the most wonderful dessert I’ve ever had. So much so, it has stayed with me ever since. You can taste rum. You can taste pineapple. You can taste caramel.”
Empanadas, the Cariburger, Caribbean Roasted Chicken, and the Pineapple Rum Bread Pudding make for the PERFECT MEAL at The Coop.
You can find The Coop Rotisserie at 36 Main Street in Amesbury and online at thecooprotisserie.com.
Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.