¡Ándale! ¡Ándale! ¡Arepa!

Caracas Arepa Bar is one of those places that you go to so often, it becomes a part of your routine and you kind of forget about it. What I mean is that it becomes so ingrained in your subconscious, that when visitors ask you where to dine, it doesn’t register in your conscious to mention the MOST OBVIOUS suggestion. The phenomenon is the culinary equivalent of looking for your sunglasses when they are actually still on your head. I only realized this when my brother-in-law was in NYC a few weeks ago and said to me, “I’ve found this amazing place you should blog about. It’s called Caracas.” My response was, “Umm…I eat there like every week. Didn’t I ever tell you about it?” Clearly not. So this is me telling everyone you about it. You’re welcome…

So what makes this place so great? Well, let’s start with the arepas. The Venezuelan corn bread is soft, yet crispy on the outside. It is dense and flavorful, yet mild enough to let the flavors of the filling shine. The fillings are simple yet delicious! My favorites are la del gato and la jardinera . La del gato is a combination of salty guayanés cheese, sweet fried plantains, and creamy avocados. La jardinera is a mix of sundried tomatoes, grilled eggplant, caramelized onion and guayanés cheese. Other vegetarian options include la mulata (grilled whilte cheese, jalapeños, sweet fried plantains, sautéed red peppers, and black beans), de guasacaca (guacamole with paisa cheese), la paisa (plain paisa cheese), and la guayanesa (plain guayanés cheese). Try any of them with their sweet and spicy mango sauce – it kicks up the flavor from excellent to out-of-this-world.  Caracas also serves an assortment of empanadas, salads, plates and sides – many of which includes vegetarian options. They are always looking out for the vegetarians, and as such, they will, upon request, replace the meat in most of the other menu items with baked tofu.

While I highly recommend this place, I also feel that I should warn you: if you are looking to sit down in the tiny yet very cozy restaurant portion of the Manhattan location, there is always a long wait, especially for dinner. I’m talking 45 minutes to an hour. Instead, I recommend trying your hand at finding a seat in the take-out outfit next door. You can select your beer while you wait for a table to clear. Though the ambiance isn’t exactly intimate – it is extremely eclectic and perfect place to introduce your friends to the “real” New York. And of course, nothing is more convenient than delivery. Though for a really fun time, I hear that the Brooklyn location has a full rum bar…something I might have to check out in the near future.

Manhattan Location:

93 ½ E. 7th Street

Between 1st and Ave A

212-529-2314

212-228-5062

Brooklyn Location:

291 Grand Street

Between Havemeyer St. and Roebling St.

718-218-6050

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One Response to “¡Ándale! ¡Ándale! ¡Arepa!”

  1. Friday Night smackdown 7/11/09 2/12 | Onlymasti Funzone Says:

    […] ¡Andale, Andale, Arepa! « Veggiewala […]

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