New Orleans is such a culturally diverse city and that variety is very apparent in our culinary landscape. Mais Arepas is one of those wonderful discoveries, located one block from the St. Charles Streetcar linen near Lee Circle, is a prime example of this. Having opened in 2012, this Latin American restaurant is at the corner of Carondelet and Clio Streets.
Like their name says, this restaurant features those delicious corn cakes that are a staple in Colombia as well as other Latin American countries. The eatery has an open-air, fresh feel to it that is both warm and inviting. The décor has a more modern feel than traditional as the large windows allow lots of light inside. The music playing in the background sets the atmosphere and the service superior.
Under the entraditas section of the menu (little entrees or appetizers) the Tostados de Platano which is twice fried green plantains served with hogao valluno, a very popular dipping sauce in Colombia sauce that has a tomato base. The Empanadas Calenas is Colombian style yellow cornmeal pies filled with shredded beef, sofrito and potatoes (or papa criolla). The herbs and spices make the dish come alive in your mouth as the tastes of garlic and mild peppers mix with the tender meat. But what is outstanding is their version of corn on the cob or Maiz de la Rueda which is grilled and topped with a spicy sauce of butter, aioli and cotija cheese that will have you licking your plate.
Under the arepas (which resemble a more substantial pita), there are many great choices available. The Chori-Arepa blends the grilled chorizo excellently with an avocado puree, mozzarella and an Aji valluno. Another favorite is the Mechada which is slow-cooked skirt steak, sofrito, ripe plantains and mozzarella. The robust flavor of the meats and the sweetness of the ripe plantains pare nicely. The Marinera takes grilled jumbo shrimp, with their citrus creole slaw, avocado chunks and tops it with their own pink sauce. Vegetarians do not fret the Fanny is an absolute marvel with its fried sweet plantains, avocado and mozzarella. All the arepas are served with fresh plantain chips and their house made sauces.
As a side, their citrus creole slaw or their cranberry beans cooked with pork belly are wonderful also on their own instead of on an arepas. But let’s not forget their cocktail offerings. Their margarita choices especially the lime is splendid.
For more information, follow them on Facebook at www.facebook/maisarepas or call at 504-523-MAIS (6247). They are located at 1200 Carondelet Street.
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