Alas, it's been months since my last post! I've been spending the lion's share of my time interning at Serious Eats (!!!), which has been exhilarating and educational and utterly delicious, but has taken up most (okay, all) of my blogging energy of late. Anyway, since I'm stretched a little thin on the home cooking front, I thought I'd at least post a sandwich review of my own, SE style. Plus it's high time I represent my little corner of Bushwick, so here goes! Also, eat at this restaurant. It is off the hook. By the way, the only person you hurt when you conflate your personal offense at my pathetic attempt to revitalize "off the hook" with your trust in my palate is yourself. Oh, and it's totally cute inside.
If you've never had the good fortune to try an arepa, the Arepera Guacuco Restaurant is undoubtedly the place to start (and finish). Arepas are a traditional Venezuelan dish, consisting of a cornmeal patty stuffed to the brim with savory ingredients ranging from seafood, to chorizo, to my personal favorite, the Arepa a Pabellón. The latter features a decadent serving of tender shredded beef, marinated with onions and peppers in a fiery tomato sauce. Nestled in the beef are black beans and deep fried sweet plantains, topped off with a crumbled queso año. It's a heavenly blend of flavors with a perfect balance of spicy, sweet and salty that makes me crave this hearty sandwich pretty much all the time. Because the arepa is grilled in oil and then baked before being sliced open and stuffed, it has a lovely golden-brown crispness on the outside that just barely manages to contain its succulent interior (and for those on the lookout, the patty is 100% gluten free). On my server's recommendation, I smothered the whole thing in their delicious house sauces -- the salsa rosada (ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard), the picante nulo (jalapenos, green tomatillos), and the guasacaca (herbs, vegetables) -- each containing some of owner Leonardo Molina's carefully guarded secret ingredients from recipes brought all the way from his home town of Guacuco, Venezuela. Pair your arepa with the restaurant's aptly named "amazing coconut milk shake" for a delightfully depraved meal.
Arepera Guacuco Restaurant
44 Irving Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11237