Every so often I wonder whether it’s worth writing about restaurants that aren’t terribly exciting, new or novel. I mean, why bother. It’s not like I have endless amounts of free time to fill (though it frequently seems that way). But my original Shovel Time mission was mission-less. I was and am keeping an online dining journal not performing a public service or breaking restaurant news or god forbid going behind the scenes of anything or unearthing gossip (which is all the rage in the mid-’00s).
Which brings me to Flor’s Kitchen (which just closed its East Village location—oh look, I’m being newsy). There’s nothing remarkable about it, despite being one of the few Venezuelan restaurants in the city. It’s neither offensive nor amazing in looks or taste. It’s certainly cozy enough to serve as a satisfactory date place. It was teeming with couples of all ages, races and persuasions on my Friday night visit. The prices won’t kill you either, though you could easily spend $100 for two without realizing how you racked up three digits.
The only dish that I loved was the sweet and salty cachapa, a paisa cheese covered corn pancake that takes fifteen minutes to prepare. Our mixed filling empanaditas were fine enough (the garnish looked a little sad), the dipping sauce, which tasted like a thicker homemade Sriracha, was a stand out.
Part of the problem is my ambivalence towards rice and beans with stewed meats. I can’t generally get worked up over the Latin American mainstay, which isn’t to say I haven’t had good renditions. Is that blasphemy? You could enjoy Japanese food without adoring rice, fish and soy sauce, but it might be counter productive. I ate most of my pabellón criollo and it wasn't disappointing. I probably should’ve tried an arepa but thought that might be overkill with the cachapa.
I’d be curious to hear what a Venezuelan food lover thinks of Flor’s. Trendier Caracas Arepa Bar gets more press but that only means so much.
Flor’s Kitchen * 170 Waverly Pl., New York, NY