Its not gonna stay a secret for long, the brand new Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village is a great score. Its a pretty tiny place, claiming to be a blend of a Venezuelan arepera and a tagüarita, whatever that is. All I know is that theyre cranking out great tasty arepea and empenadas. Three of us stopped by Saturday early evening, two youngish women who seemed to be running the place busily cranking out crispy arepas. They were slicing them open like a piece of pita bread and stuffing them with all kinds of stuff: chicken in some sort of guacamole-type sauce; tender beef; black beans; mixed veggies. All really tasty. The empenadas are very similar to the arepas, made out of the same dough, but really big, twice the size I usually receive in a restaurant.
I cant compare them to the Arepa Lady because a) Ive never been to her and b) they were all out of arepas dulce con queso. This is nuthin like those street fair Mozzarepas that my wife loves (ick). Those are more Colombian style (yellow corn and, of course, they suck. I make non-sucking Colombian arepas at home.) I can say that Caracas A.P. is much better than the nearby Flors Kitchen, which Im not very fond of. Although I grew up in Miami, others are better qualified to judge how authentic the place is. I dont care. Im going back.
Expect the usual press splash: There was a photographer from the NY Times in there while we were eating.