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7.8
NYC

Caracas Arepa Bar

Do you want to know my favorite thing about Caracas Arepas Bar besides the food? I'll assume the answer is yes since you're reading this review. It's not the tall, funky looking waiter who's got crazy hair and wears sunglasses inside...though, that guy is indeed the man. It's the fact that once you get inside this tiny eatery, the table you've been awarded is yours until you want to leave. Unlike most small restaurants where people vie for seats, Caracas doesn't rush you. They actually encourage you to order little by little and keep eating until you're happily bloated and full. Caracas is literally a zoo - people crowd outside the glass and watch as the hungry animals inside inhale food to their heart's content. There is a 30 to 45 minute wait all day, everyday. Even when you try going at off hours, it's packed. Luckily Caracas "To Go" is next door, so you can get your fix for the road if you don't have the patience to wait. Caracas takes pride in serving the most authentic Venezuelan food in the city. Who are we to disagree? This is by far and away the best Venezuelan restaurant we've been to. It's also the only Venezuelan place we've been to.

Food Rundown

Cachapa with Shredded Beef & Cheese
Make sure you order this. It's easy to get caught up in the arepas and overlook the "Plates" section of the menu. You'll be sorry, just as I was the first time I came here and failed miserably by not ordering this tasty corn pancake. It's got the look and size of a burrito, stuffed to the brim with moist, shredded beef and cheese.

Empanadas De Carne Mechada (Shredded Beef)
All Empanadas are served solo. The shredded beef is excellent. Big, moist and awesome.

Empanadas De Cazon (Shredded Fish)
Skip this. It's fishy smelling and too dry.

Empanadas De Pabellon
Shredded Beef, Black bean, white salty cheese and sweet plantains - talk about a loaded empanada ... home run.

De Pollo Arepas
Just so we're on the same page with what you're getting into here, let's establish an equal eating field for those uninformed. Arepas are thick, round corn cakes that are toasted on the outside. They look like a small pita pocket; they're dense and stuffed like a burrito. At Caracas, they are served in pairs. For light eaters, two arepas plus a side could be sufficient. But for people who like to seriously get after it, two or even three orders is certainly doable, depending on how hungry you are. Now onto the De Pollo - this is grilled chicken breast with caramelized onions and cheddar cheese. I'm kind of surprised more of their arepas don't come with caramelized onions. They taste like straight sugar. So good.

Los Muchachos Arepas
Grilled chorizo, spicy white cheese with jalapenos, and sauteed peppers. This one is on the spicy side, and tastes even better doused in that amazing mango hot sauce that you'll find on the tables.

La de Pernil Arepas
Roasted pork shoulder with tomato slices and a spicy mango sauce. Don't miss the only pork arepa on the menu. Juicy and delicious.

De Pabellon Arepas
Shredded beef, black beans, white salt cheese, and sweet plantains. A heart attack waiting to happen but who cares, it's worth it.

La Surena Arepas
Grilled chicken and chorizo, with avocado slices and the classic and always enigmatic spicy chimichurri sauce. The chimichurri sauce steals the show.

Yoyos
Fried sweet plantain balls stuffed with white cheese. These are the kind of balls that will make cheese obsessed females completely lose their minds Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally style. Watch out, she might crave balls of a different variety as her main course. FYI, bathrooms are a little tight. Good luck with that.

Tajadas
Fried sweet plantains with aged cheese. Just like Hot Chip, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, now.

Marquesa de Chocolate
If you're lucky and they actually have it, this is what you're ordering. The description says it all: layers of thick chocolate mousse and Maria cookies. 100% homemade.

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