ELV knows as much about Venezuelan cuisine as he does about Lagrangian mechanics, but that doesn’t mean he can’t appreciate a succulent wood-roasted chicken, crispy fried yucca, sweet and satisfying fried plantains, and a frijoles negroes con queso to beat the band.
As our loyal readers know, we consider most re-fried bean dishes to be a bad joke, but these had us licking our plate — as did the three separate sauces coming out of those squeeze bottles. Two of them (we think) are variations on guasacaca — a classic Venezuelan accompaniment — and although the presence of avocado was much less evident than were the herbs and chilies, so fresh and brightly flavored were they that we’d put them up against any salsas in town.
Truth be told, we’ve never been a big fan of the bread-y and heavy arepa “sandwiches” which are most people’s introduction to this cuisine. But if you’re looking for an alternative to Cuban food (which this closely resembles), with similar raw ingredients given more zing, beat a beeline to Las Vegas Boulevard South and Oakey and watch the world go by in an open and friendly restaurant that adds more spice and more careful cooking than any Cubano in our humble burg.
Our lunch for two came to $24, including tip.
VIVA LAS AREPAS
1516A Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89104