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Hola Arepa

gildeddawn | Jan 10, 201509:31 AM

Just went for the first time last night, and thought it deserved a thread of its own. (Some mentions in other threads, I know, but I didn't find anything comprehensive.)

We loved it! The food was great - interesting, well thought-out, with complexity of flavor and what seemed like really fresh, high-quality ingredients. We had chips and salsa and guacamole to start, along with the vegetable special small plate, which was roasted yucca and butternut squash with arugula salad and a sauce made with pepitas. The salsas were really nice - lots of variety of flavor and good balance. Serviceable guac, too. The veggie appetizer was great - good acid and savory and sweet and salty balance, plus it was something I'd never had before, which is always nice.

For arepas, we had beef and plantain and black bean and queso fresco. Beef was really savory and complex, and the beans had nice bite, and went great with the pickled cabbage and roasted corn salsa. Also - the yucca fries were a revelation. I've never had them before and they were amazing - so light and crispy on the outside and creamy inside. Perfect frying job, and both the dipping sauces available (chimmichurri and aioli verde) were also excellent.

I also had a drink, and I'm going to go ahead and say it's one of the best cocktails I've ever had - maybe the best? Can't recall the name, but it was pisco, housemade cider, velvet falernum and pear shrub. I like a sweeter cocktail, and it was, but the vinegar bite at the end really made it.

On top of all that, attentive but not overbearing service, and everyone working there seemed happy to be there, from front-of-house to wait staff to bartenders.

Only slight negative was that it's a bit loud and tables are close together (and we had to wait 25 minutes, but it was a Friday night, and frankly, I'm glad they're so popular if it keeps them around).

Just a great experience overall. I can't remember the last time I was so satisfied with every aspect of a restaurant. We will be back.

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