Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Budare Arepa Express

402 W. Grand Parkway S (TX 99), Katy

I was heading back into town from the westerly nether regions recently and pulled off I-10 to check this place out. I'd seen it mentioned on Yelp. Katy has been called Katy-zuela because of the concentration of Venezuelan expats there but so far as I know this is one of only two brick-and-mortar Venezuelan restaurants in Katy and none of the Venezuelan mobile units I know about are located there.

Like the other place, Deli's Cafe, this one specializes in arepas, which are like Mexican gorditas, but with lots more on the menu. It's a small place but nicely appointed; most of the tables are two-tops.

There are 23 varieties of arepas on the menu; I went with the Pabellon which puts most of the ingredients of the Venezuelan national dish, Pabellon Criollo, in one of these corn pockets - carne mechada, black beans, fried plantains and cheese (queso de mano, I think).

This was by far the largest arepa I've ever encountered and I enjoyed it but, perhaps due to some medications I'm taking, everything seemed underseasoned for my taste. There is a help-yourself condiments bar with 5 different sauces available in squeeze bottles, 2 kinds of peppers, chopped jalapeno and some small peppers looking like stunted banana peppers that I'm not familiar with, and other things. Oddly, there was no guasacaca among the sauces.

My sandwich was almost ready before I spotted the poster for the Patacones, a spectacular Venezuelan sandwich which uses mashed, fried plantain for bread and which I've had before at the short-lived Pana's on Scarsdale and from the Sabor Venozolana truck on Westheimer (picture here). It is not listed on the menu board. This place is too far away for me to be a regular but next time I'm out that way I'm definitely going to go for that.


No comments: