Orinoco: Venezuelan Flavors in Brookline

Orinoco is a wonderful, laid-back Venezuelan eatery on Harvard Street in Brookline. Their specialty, the arepas, a sandwich made of tender, juicy and flavorful pulled chicken or pork stuffed between two layers of thick, grainy corn pancake is one very popular in Colombia and Venezuela and appears on their menu with a long list of fillings. The menu also includes a great variety of grilled meat, fresh fish and traditional snacks and sides. I would also recommend getting the parilla grill platter for a combination of grilled treats. I have gone back to Orinoco multimple times. It has never let me down!

DATILES

These were perfectly sinful little appetizers. Crispy, fatty bacon wrapped around a gooey, sweet date stuffed with a crunchy, fresh almond. The mixing of the flavors of these ingredients will produce an almost painfully delicious harmony in your mouth and make it pretty difficult to share them.


AREPA PORTOBELLO

A delicious corn arepa made with sweet roasted corn and anise seeds with wild mushrooms, sweet corn, sauteed spinach, huitlacoche cream and roasted cubanelle pepper sauce.

PARILLA CARQUENA

Another one of Orinoco’s best dishes and one of my all time favorite dishes in Boston. The rib eye was tender and had a fantastically smokey char, the chicken was moist and juicy and the chorizo was bursting with flavor. The crispy sticks of fried yuca were a great complement to the meats. The highlight of the dish was, however, undoubtedly the citrus-y green mojo, which blended with the deep grill flavor of the meats and the yuca beautifully. Every bite of this dish brought me back to a boisterous family style Latin American asado.

ATUN

The adobo-rubbed, slightly seared but rare yellowfin tuna was incredibly flavorful and fresh. The fish was obviously very high quality and melted in my mouth, leaving a fresh, clean taste paired with the smokey depth of flavor provided by the adobo-rub crust. The sashimi-shape tuna slices was served with an arugula salad detailed with a bright sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. This dish came pretty close to perfection.

MARACUCHITOS

Deliciously gooey queso paisa wrapped in fried sweet plantains; what can be better? The cheese oozes out of the sticky plantain and melts in your mouth. This appetizer truly represents the Latin American version of comfort food.

LA PELUA

The stewed beef was very moist and the Venezuelan yellow cheese yielded to the warmth of the meat, melting into a perfect texture. The arepa was grilled very nicely and had a subtle smokey flavor. However, it was a bit dry and rough to chew. Perhaps I just got one from a dry batch…

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