Thursday, June 28, 2012

Caracas Arepas Bar @ New York City

Caracas Arepas Bar is a tiny, dark, cozy Venezuelan restaurant in East Village that probably makes the finest Arepas on Earth. How else does one explain the long line waiting to get in? With about 5 tables and a tiny bar, it certainly is a hole in the wall. It was my first rendezvous with Arepa and I am in love.

After about 40 minutes we were shown to our table. We were the only one with a 11 month old in tow. Like all New York restaurants they neither have a high chair nor a changing table. We had to fold the stroller and shove it away for lack of space. So, yes, all through the dinner we took turns having the infant on our lap while trying to enjoy the delicious Arepas. Do people with kids never eat out in NYC???

The menu is very vegetarian friendly and customizable to one's choice. They substitute baked tofu for meat in any of their Arepas. Arepa is a corn flour bun, grilled and baked. Once stuffed with the filling it looks like pita pockets. It is not quite a snack and it is not a meal either, but it somehow fills up the tummy. To quench our thirst , we got a drink each.

 For starters we got the Guasacaca and chips - Guacamole with homemade chips. The chips were very light and not a bit oily. I guess they are made from Yuca or some other root.

Guasacaca and chips @ Caracas Arepas Bar
And the Yoyos - Sweet plantain with white cheese fried in cinnamon plantain batter. The sweetness of the plaintain + the saltiness of the cheese = Yumminesss! A little warm at each bite with the cheese melting in your mouth......ummmmm this was fantastic!!

Yoyos @ Caracas Arepas Bar

For the main course, we ordered the Leek Jardinera - grilled leeks, sun-dried tomatoes, carmelized onions and guayenes cheese. The Arepa by itself was rather dry and tough. But when married with the caramelized onions and sundried tomatoes, it was kind of sweet and spicy. The cheese gave it the right amount of wetness and balanced the dryness of the Arepa. The food can be a little bland. If you like it spicy, pour in some of the yellow sauce that rests on every table. It will be much better.

Leek Jardinera @ Caracas Arepas Bar
And La del Gato - guayenes cheese, fried sweet plantains and avocado slices. This was my next favorite. It was a tad dry but the flavors were excellent.

La del Gato @ Caracas Arepas Bar
The waitress was very friendly and the service was excellent. They also have a to-go joint right next door which is a wee bit more spacious, where one can eat or take it to-go.  They have branches in few other locations. If you have never had Arepas before, you must visit this place. And, if you are an Arepa lover, you definitely must visit this place.
Caracas Arepa Bar on Urbanspoon


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