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First visit to Orinoco

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First visit to Orinoco

MC Slim JB | Feb 8, 2006 07:57 AM

A cute Venezuelan storefront on a quiet residential block of Shawmut Ave in the South End (corner of West Concord). Mostly booths, open kitchen. Lots of deliciousness for not a lot of money. We try half of the eight arepas: shredded beef, shredded chicken with avocado and cilantro, slow cooked pork loin, black beans and mild white cheese. All come with sides of fierce mojo. Very fresh tasting, great texture in the arepa, a little breadier than a corn tortilla. "Orinoco" salad has bits of grilled chicken, grapes, endive, cress, feta.

Datiles are almond-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, rather sweet, and addictive. An empanda verde: plantain dough (!) stuffed with wild mushrooms, chillis, machego, and salsa verde. Nearly gone before I got a fork in. Pabellon criollo is possibly the highlight, an entree of shredded beef of which I could've eaten a pint, with the usual black beans, rice, and well-charred plantains. All wines from South America, most in the low twenties.

This feast for four came to all of $19 a head total, not including wine. Friendly service, somewhat leisurely pacing, already packed with folks from the neighborhood. They do lunch, too, are closed Sundays and Mondays (brunch promised soon), no reservations. An awesome new spot.

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