I’ve never eaten in the overly popular Caracas Arepa Bar 93 East 7th Street, New York, NY 10003 in the East Village. My club days are over and I don’t enjoy squeezing up against people as beer spills on me. I probably wouldn’t have tried their new Brooklyn location 291 Grand Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211, if it wasn’t for Hagan, but I’m so glad I did. They’ve got the same great arepas, way more space, and a Roneria – the rum bar with 29 different rums!

Rum List Miguel the Bartender 2

I probably should admit that my absolute favorite part was Miguel, our bartender. Besides making wonderful drinks, he was passionate about rums and the food they serve, able to give true recommendations based on his personal favorites. Trust Miguel. If he says something is good, it’s good. I recommend going and just letting him steer you through drinks, food, and listen as he gives you a true education.

Watch Miguel, as each preparation is a show. The Classic Hemmingway Mojito (made with rum) starts with rimming the glass with their own spice mix. I really tasted the cinnamon and anise as I sipped, which gave this refreshing drink a winter-y twist. I imagined myself sitting by a fireplace, toasting marshmallows, and sipping away.

spice rimming tray

Balanced with such perfection, I had a hard time slowing down, knowing there was so much more to come.

Classic Hemmingway Mojito 2

Next, Dark & Stormy, made with aged rum, fresh pressed ginger, agave, and lime. Again, so balanced and so smooth.

Dark & Stormy 2

As we finished up, Miguel was working on the our Rum Manhattan. I caught a glimpse of his movements and grabbed my camera quickly, and couldn’t believe I caught this shot. I’m usually that annoying photographer that is fumbling with camera settings while everyone holds their smiles until their cheeks hurt.

Miguel flaming the zest

This Rum Manhattan is made with aged rum, their own house-made bitters, bay leaves, and rum soaked blueberries. The orange zest is flamed to release the oils.

Rum Manhattan 2

With perfect timing, Miguel presented us a plate of Tostones Mochimeros, a popular dish to eat on the beach as you drink rum. The crunchy twice fried green plantains were shaped like petals. A layer of Mojito Mayo is used as tasty glue to hold on the snowy layer of salty white cheese (that apparently is not available here). He told me I could use cotija though cause I’m making these soon, or maybe for $5.50 per plate, I should just let them make it for me.

Tostones Mochimeros 2

I guess that was just to warm up because Miguel was setting up a rum flight for us with his personal favorites. The Atlantico is a new rum company that uses Bourbon barrels to age their rum. The result is a strong vanilla flavor. It’s amazing! The Santa Teresa is a much older company, with history to 1796. This one was sharper and a bit strong for me. We ended with Vizcaya, a Cuban rum, that was full and smooth, lasting in the mouth like a coating of caramel. I have a new found respect for rum. I’ve never been big on drinking stuff straight but if I had a bottle of Atlantico or Vizcaya at home, I might unknowingly become a drunk.

Rum Tasting

Let’s not forget that Caracas is about arepas. They’re different here, served like little pita pockets, but you can taste the light crunch of the corn. I love that they have a variety of sampler plates, where you can get three arepas to try, and they’re split for easy sharing. Miguel recommended La Popular, their three most popular arepas. Why wouldn’t everyone order that? (Ok, I could see myself getting the cheese addicts sampler.)

La Popular combination platter 2

De Pabellon is shredded beef, black beans, white salty cheese (there it is again, I asked, no name), and sweet plantains. I feel like singing, “these are a few of my favorite things”. You saw Sound of Music right? Reina Pepiada is basically a chicken salad covered in guacamole. For someone who does not like avocado, this was as good as it gets. La Mulata is a vegetarian pocket with grilled white cheese, which had a bouncy and squishy texture. Pretty funky. Jalapenos, sauteed red peppers, fried sweet plantains, and black beans give a nice mix of different textures adding a little heat with some sweetness. I need to try more next time….what a list!

La Popular combination platter

We had already drank enough as you know, but when Miguel offered a Marron (cortado) with coffee rum, I tried to decline, but you know I love coffee. I’m glad Hagan twisted my arm (totally trying to get me drunk) because this was possibly the best drink ever, and you know I don’t say that lightly. Lon, if I fall deep into seasonal depression, throw me over your shoulder and bring me to Caracas in Brooklyn and ask Miguel for one of these. Got it?

Marron with rum 2

Their Obleas, two very thin wafers held together by a thin layer of dulce de leche is a nice light dessert to end with. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, not too heavy, and is great with the spiked Marron.

Obleas 2

This meal was comped thanks to Caracas Arepa Bar and Roneria, and thanks to Hagan who invited me along. But, I did take some menus home and I’m looking at the prices, I know I’ll be back. I really had a great time.

posted by jessica at 01:21 PM Filed under Favorites, Latin, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.