On yet another blistery evening, we headed out on a new culinary adventure to Shachis Arepas. This cozy, 12 table Latin arepa-ria is located in South Williamsburg, on a somewhat deserted street right off the BQE.
As we scurried inside, bearing a multitude of layers in an unsuccessful attempt to shelter the ever-escaping body heat in the 19F weather, a friendly older gentleman signaled us to choose our seats. While we regained our wits and the feeling in our toes, he gracefully appeared with our menus and an unexpected treat: fried plantain chips accompanied by a tangy chimichurri sauce. The crispy, warm crunch of the sweet chips was a great contrast to the flavorful parsley-filled dipping sauce. We energetically offered our thanks and delighted in the warm cozy atmosphere of our welcoming host. As the tracks in the speakers changed (from Christmas music to Led Zeplin to Aretha Franklin to abstract jazz), we observed the fun yellows, bright blues, and beaming oranges of the wall paint. Although this was dinner and the mood lighting was in full effect, a sense of a bright, homey ambiance filled the air.
As we settled on our menu choices, the attentive host kept our water glasses filled and knew precisely when to return for our orders. We started with a beef empanada and sweet plantains. The crispy empanada (served piping hot) filled with juicy, shredded beef, had a crunchy, fried encasing and an ever-so-creamy inside; simply escorted by a delicious hot sauce (which was abundantly used throughout the rest of the meal).
The perfectly pan fried sweet plantains were not overly sugary and had a great mouth feel while gently gliding through the taste buds.
As for the mains, shredded chicken arepa with cheese and beer braised pork with black beans, sweet plantains, and white rice, were out before we even had a chance to finish the plantains (making for great harmony of sweet and savory flavors when consumed in unison).
The crispy, thick, yet fluffy corn arepa enclosed a mount of shredded dark meat chicken and was topped with Tropicana cheese (which prior to this excursion I believed to solely be a reference for a warm getaway or OJ). The juices of the bird flowed into the warm arepa, making for an even more flavorful delight. The other entree wasn't far behind in flavor. The braised pork, served in its own juices was also extremely tender and the rice, encircled by a few more sweet plantains for good measure, was fluffy and cooked to perfection.
The black beans were standard, yet the entree was incomplete without them. As we cleaned our plates, the attentive owner/waiter was extremely pleasant and cleared our table of the bare dishes as we relished in the toasty feeling inside our stomachs. Success! To top the evening off, the whole meal set us back approximately $25, which is an offer I will take up again and again!
Shachis Arepas-197 Havemeyer Street-Brooklyn NY