When I chatted up a Venezuelan barista at Blue Bottle coffee, I told her I love Caracas Arepas. She said it was very good, but said a spot in Chelsea called El Cocotero was even better. So what did I do right after she mentioned this? I hightailed it to 18th between 8th and 7th to that joint. The Foodie Magician is always on a mission for finding the best gems, most authentic eats, etc. I had never heard of El Cocotero, even though it's been around for nine years. And I must tell you, that barista was right- it's an awesome joint.
They have an extensive menu of Venezuelan delights. When walking into this little gem, I was transported out of NYC, and to a little spot in Venezuela. I loved the space with its palm trees on the walls, and I love this place. I was ecstatic that fate led me to this treasure.
I tried two of their arepas. They were both fabulous.
A Pabellon arepa ($9) came with shredded beef, black beans, sweet plantain and grated white cheese. That beef so juicy and flavorful. Fabulous.
Their La Moronto arepa ($9), pernil, avocado, cilantro, and tomatoes, was quite delicious too.
New York City is a land of culinary gems from around the world, spaces that can transport you to other countries, with one step inside, with one bite of a dish. El Cocotero is one of these places that does just that. So save your airfare to Caracas, and hail a cab to 18th street, where a truly magical culinary adventure awaits.
228 W. 18th St. (bet. 8th and 7th)
New York, NY 10011