For too long, the Arepa has been one of the lesser-known Latin American staples in New York City. Caracas, a hit restaurant in the East Village and now with a location in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (not to mention another location in Rockaway), is doing much to change this. Staying true to the street-food roots of the ground cornmeal patties, Caracas manages to elevate the dish to impressively creative and delicious heights.
Each Arepa combines ingredients to create a devastating combination of flavors and textures. The De Pabellon mixes shredded beef, white salty cheese, black beans, and sweet plantains to create a delicious mix of savory and sweet. La Mulata, with grilled white cheese, jalapenos, and sautéed red peppers, is perfect for those looking for a vegetarian option with plenty of kick. The dough is made from scratch daily and it comes across in the taste of the Arepa itself.
While visitors could find a fully satisfying meal by sticking to the dozen or so types of Arepas on the menu (and additional daily specials), the “Sidekicks” are not something to pass up. In particular, the croquetas, deep-fried cakes of yucca potato with chorizo, corn, and cilantro, are phenomenal. The “guasacaca” (guacamole with homemade chips) is made fresh daily and manages to make this staple of Latin American dining taste like something totally new.
The colorful dining area connects to a large patio that’s a great place to settle on a warm day. While the menu is identical to the Manhattan original, the Brooklyn outpost is thankfully much less crowded. Groups will have little trouble scoring a table and enjoying some top-notch Arepas without having to wait 90 minutes to do it.
But Caracas Brooklyn has another advantage: Roneria Caracas. This rum bar, located inside the restaurant, boasts more than 30 sipping rums from the Caribbean Islands, Central and South America. A range of rum-based cocktails are also on offer, including classic drinks and the bar’s own creations, such as the Romero Sour. For the rum purists, the bar offers several special rum flights.
291 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211