Some days could use more reggaeton and plantains. Scratch that. All days could use more reggaeton and plantains. Particularly when the latter is crisp, salted, and served with red snapper and shrimp ceviche or guasacaca gruesa (a Venezuelan avocado dip), and the former provides a steady beat by which to eat it. In brief: You can find us at Maize OTR, which serves a mash-up of a variety of Latin American and Caribbean cuisines.
The arepas (cornmeal cakes stuffed like sandwiches) may get the lion share of attention—and we are not here to contest their place in the spotlight—but we firmly suggest you not skip over the cachapas. Spanish for “crumpet,” cachapas are traditional Venezuelan corn pancakes (approximately 1,834 times better than the British version you’re imagining), and they strike the perfect balance of savory with a hint of sweetness from the corn, piled high with the ingredients you choose. You select delivery system (arepa or cachapa), then style (we loved the Jardinera, with pan-seared tofu, avocado, tomato, cilantro, and black bean puree, and the Rumbera, “the party animal” of Caribbean-style shredded pork, avocado, and shredded cheese), and a sauce to go with it. Looking for something more…grand? The platos grandes are made to share and plated to please the eye. As far as drinks go, you won’t be left wanting with wine or beer. But live it up: That’s what the Dulce & Amargo (tequila, guanabana, serrano pepper, and simple syrup) and the El Ritual (a shot of añejo rum with fine-ground coffee, brown sugar, and a lime wedge) are for. And major bonus: Unlike most small spots in OTR, you can make a reservation. Buenas noches y buena suerte.
1438 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 381-1608, maizeotr.com. Dinner and late night Tues–Sat.