November 5, 2008

Caracas Arepa Bar

Lines, Lines, Lines. Those are the first three words that I think of when I think of Caracas Arepa Bar. But like rollercoasters and voting (Yes, we can), they're worth the wait.

The first time we ate from Caracas Arepas, Laurel picked it up from the to-go side (to the left. the "Bar" is to the right, and there is a closing thrift shop between), and met me in Thompkins Square Park so we could pretend we are homeless. The second time was a mere attempt on my part. My friends were going to meet me but even though they were running late, and I had already waited about 30 minutes for them, with our names in with the hostess, we were still going to have to wait an hour to an hour and a half. The third time was successful. We showed up, and got inside in about 30 minutes. We had to sit at the bar, but it wasn't bad at all and the waiter was attentive. The only bad thing was that my camera died, so we couldn't get a picture of the food. I attempted to draw them, but I am completely untalented in every way when it comes to art. And instead of looking like arepas, they looked like diapers.

At least they didn't taste like diapers! In fact, let me move on from the "Line, Line, Line" part to the "Worth the Wait" part. On my first visit, I had ordered the La Del Gato with beans. The La Del Gato ($5.75) contains guayan├ęs cheese, fried sweet plantains and avocado slices. With beans, it would be all of my favorite foods COMBINED and GRILLED. BOOM - Flavor explosion. It's like a Taco Bell commercial, but the food is actually good. The third (and most successful) time Laurel and I shared the De Pollo ($5.75), which contained grilled chicken breast with caramelized onions and cheddar cheese. It was surprisingly sweet, tasted a little like barbecue, and was the perfect combination of flavors.

This place is delicious. I strongly suggest at least attempting to get in. Isn't too busy before around 7, it seems, but you never know. - Jennifer

[Insert awesome picture of food here.]

Caracas is a delicious place. Arepas are relatively new to my food world, but I'm happy to welcome them to my eating out diet. So good!

So, for those of you who don't know, arepas are a South American dish and resemble a cross between a sandwich and a taco. Fillings are stuffed inside a handmade fluffy grilled corn tortilla, and include black beans, slow-cooked pork and beef, chicken, fried plantains, avocado, cheese, and more.
I ordered the De Pabellon ($6.75), filled with shredded beef, black beans, sweet plantains, and aged cheese. This is the arepa they are famous for, and there's a reason why. It's delicious. The flavor combo is different and slightly complex, but the salty-sweet-chewy-meaty combination is just good.

One arepa doesn't seem big, but it's pretty filling. However, if you're starving like we were, I'd suggest getting three and splitting one, or starting out with an appetizer. Note that there are lovely pictures of their arepas and other items at Caracas' website below (sorry for the lack of photo evidence).

The take-out location has a bit of seating, but a bit is it.. not to say that the proper location is much better. The space is tight and the wait can be long, but the staff is friendly and the food is tasty, so, as Jennifer said, it's worth it. Note that they make everything fresh when you order it, so don't expect real speed, even at the to-go location. But sit back and relax-- it's part of the experience. -Laurel

Address: 93 1/2 E 7th St (at 1st Ave)


Payment: Cash, Cards

Take Out: Yes

Delivery: no

Open Late: 10:30

Bar/Happy Hour: Yes, wine and beer


movie fan said...

i can't help thinking it's awesome that there has been such long lines all over... people taking a greater interest in public issues is always a good thing

April said...

ah, this place was on "throwdown," no? (for the record, i'm generally anti-flay, but i'm also a hopeless food network addict.)

i've only heard of one place in nashville for arepas. i need to track it down because i am totes jealous right now.

good work, girlz!

Amy said...

Yum! I want to go. If I can't find decent Mexican food on the East Coast I think this sounds like a close second.

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