The Tale Of The Tiny $8 Arepa At Los Americanos

I was in the upper part of Tribeca recently on the hunt for lunch. When I passed by Los Americanos at Church & Walker streets (where Pane Panelle once was), I took a look at the menu and saw they had one sandwich and a few other items for $10 or less. Those other items included tacos, pupusas, empanadas and arepas. How could I pass up an arepa in Tribeca?

There’s a separate door and window for take out, just as there was at Pane Panelle for sandwiches. In addition to the lunch items they also serve breakfast (chilaquiles!) until 2 p.m. if you’re more in the mood for a breakfast burrito or omelette at midday.

The tacos and empanadas are offered at two per order for $10 and $8 respectively, while you only get one pupusa or arepa for $7 or $8. Neither one comes with any sides, so I went over the $10 mark to get an arepa filled with pabellon (shredded beef with fried plantain) and a side of maduros ($5). I have no idea why I paid $5 for maduros but it may have been an impulse buy and later I would be glad for the extra carbs. It may be hard to tell scale from the above photo, but the arepa is sitting on one of those small napkins you get with a cocktail.

Let’s pretend that the tiny arepa cost less than $8 and talk about how it tasted. The shredded beef had small chunks of potato and carrot in it, was interspersed with black beans, and topped with a sprinkle of salty cheese and two slices of plantain. The meat was juicy and the arepa held up well in transit since it was a good 30 minutes before I could eat it. I only wished the corn flatbread was larger since there was more filling than it could contain. I know the rent in this neighborhood is crazy, but if West Side Coffee Shop a block away can give me enough food to feed a small family for less than $10, I think Los Americanos could either make the arepa larger or throw in some rice and beans on the side to bulk it up.

In closing: The quality of the food at Los Americanos was good, but you’re going to pay for it.

Los Americanos, 305 Church St. (at Walker), (212) 680-0101



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