Venezuelan food? Yeah sure, whatever, I’ll try that. Let’s live on the edge, be adventurous, take an effin’ risk goddammit!
Caracas is a tiny Venezuelan spot in the East Village. The place was packed when we got there and we had to wait about 10 minutes for a table (which seemed like a very good sign). While waiting, we eyed the dishes severed to the seated peeps and noticed a pattern – almost everyone ordered what looked like the bastard child of a burger bun and a pita, filled with what we assumed to be “Venezuelan stuff”.
For appetizers, Zazi and I shared a Guasacaca & Chips, an Ensalada La Acida and an Empanada Domino. The Guasacaca is Venezuelan guacamole served with fried plantains, yukas and taro instead of chips. Honestly, I’m not really sure what differentiates the guasacaca from the regular guacamole we all know and love but it doesn’t really matter. It was fresh and delicious and the fried plantains and root veggies were a nice touch. Unfortunately, this guasacaca was the only highlight of our meal… The small salad was made of mixed dwarfed beans (I swear they were tiny), corn and a citrus and passion fruit dressing. The beans were undercooked and even though I’m a big passion fruit fan, its exotic flavor tasted a bit awkward in that casual scenario. The empanada was filled with black beans and “white salty cheese” and was as dull as its description.
The little bastard from earlier is actually called Arepa. Zazi and I selected two to share as an entrée with the help of our waitress (who, btw, was super lovely). We went for a Los Muchachos (grilled chorizo, spicy white cheese with jalapeño and sautéed peppers) and the Arepas du Jour (shredded beef cooked with sugarcane and topped with, yet again, salty white cheese). Both were “eh”. By “eh” I mean the muchachos was way too spicy and greasy for its own good (and this is coming from the founder of the Spice Grease fan club). Also, the meat in the Arepas du Jour was dry and overall tasted pretty bland.
To accompany our meal Zazi sipped on Brahma (Brazilian beer), while I had a glass of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon (Valdivieso, 2004). Both were fine.
Caracas, in a way, was a little bit like a bad date. You’re not sure what to expect, but you’ve heard so many good things about that person from a credible source that you just have to give it a try. You’re being played the “I’m hard to get” game, and you think to yourself “mmm, I’m frustrated, that makes him so sexy”. You start chatting a little. The conversation is fresh and light and your mind begins envisioning warm wintry nights and a romantic trip to Venezuela. But then he kisses you, kinda aggressively, like a testosteronized 16 year old and you know that a second date just aint gonna happen.
Bottom line: 71 :(
$20+- with drinks
Caracas Arepa Bar
93 1/2 E 7th St, Bet 1st Ave & Ave A