Caracas Arepa Bar
291 Grand Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
(also in Manhattan)
Myself, I’ve never been to Venezuela but my tongue has a time or two. You remember, right? Anyway, my first scheduled dinner stop was in Brooklyn this time and to a well loved spot called the Caracas Arepa Bar.
Unfortunately, the tajadas came cold and a bit greasy. The cheese was served as cheese crumbles and came served on the side in a small dipping bowl. While perhaps authentic, the dish was very uninspired. Serving plantains warm with the cheese on top and perhaps a different presentation would have made them more of a standout dish. The arepa was much better than the tajadas. My advice? Save your calories for the main event – the arepas.
I had the a-18 arepa: la de pernil. The arepa itself, with its crusty outer shell and warm fluffy white inside was worth the subway journey in itself. That with a little bit of cheese and butter by my account would make a delicious addition to my normal, boring but antioxidant rich and fiber filled breakfast routine. The pork inside the arepa was perfection-slow roasted, shredded and bathing in a light sauce (a cross between a very thin, but not spicy bbq sauce and light brown gravy). The spicy mango sauce was green and more tangy than sweet (yippie!). One bite was part crunch, tang, zip and savouriness all wrapped into one. I’ll certainly have another next time I am in Williamsburg.
That (green) mango sauce made my day.
Also tried a cocktail with elderflower, rum and lime which was just ok and another one that I can’t seem to remember the name of now. Pity though, because that most certainly hit the spot after a long day of walking around balmy NYC.
Made with rosemary, this rum cocktail was de-lic-ious.
If you journey to Williamsburg to try this bit of Caracas, be sure to try out the extensive selection of rums from all over the Caribbean. A savvy way to do this is one of the themed rum sampler menus such as dark or spicy. Overall, the Caracas ArepaBbar boasts over 30 rums from throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America.
Several Mexican beers on offer and even beer cocktails. If you are looking to stretch your budget a bit and are more of a drinker than eater, hit up happy hour any day of the week from 16-19:00 for discounts on mostly beer and a few cocktails. If you are more of an eater than drinker, come weekdays between 12-16:00 for a lunch special instead.
Cool and casual atmosphere but well patronized in the evenings so get there early or plan to wait.