I can't believe that my office moves out of Chelsea, then ONE BLOCK AWAY an Venezuelan restaurant serving arepas pops up. El Cocotero, 228 W. 18th St between 7th and 8th Aves., in the old Taylor's bakery space right across from the post office. Taylor's always seemed cramped, this place, pretty spacious (though small)
The short course: the arepas are great. For $4-$5 each there are arepa stuffed like pita bread with carne mechad (shredded flank steak) reina pepiada (shredded chicken with avocado and cilantro), etc. Off the menu, they'll bring a sampling of 4 arepas stuffed with different things. ($10).
Someone else will have to tell me how they stack up against The Arepa Lady. (I forget, how does the Caracas Arepa Bar compare to the Arepa Lady??)
There's more sandwiches and just a couple of entrees. I had pollo al horno, a roasted chicken leg that had been marinated (seemingly for hours) in citrus. It had an ususual texture, but was tasty.
The chef/owner stopped at the table, was very nice. This is his first restaurant, though he's been a chef a number of places. They've been open three weeks and the menus is definitely still a work in progress. I expect more entrees to be added.
Definitely go. It's cute, good service, not expensive and far, far less of a zoo than the Caracas Arepa Bar (which I still love, however.) Much better than the food I've had at Flor's.