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 2008 Restaurants - Wapango

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Last year, Wapango, serving Pan-Latin cuisine, opened up in Chesterfield Mall so my family decided to try it out. The modern design contrasts textures of wood and metal with steadily changing colored lights, which can be seen in their exterior, lined by cracked globes glowing with dancing lights, as well as their interior.

With their wide variety of appetizers, it may be hard to choose one or two for the table, so why not pick up a Carnivale, their version of a sampler plate, which is also available in double portions (as in photos). It arrives on a 4-foot long plank of wood with Columbian Arepas, Empanadas de Queso, Vegetarian Tostadas, Red Corn Chicken Taquitos and Chicken Quesadillas served with pineapple salsa and black beans. The arepas are very good, with a slightly crispy white corn base which makes it taste similar to tamales. The empanadas are delicious with flavorful cheese and perfecly crisp skin. The vegetarian tostadas are good, though a bit messy to distribute. The taquitos and quesadillas are good as well, but they're pretty standard.

The Yucatan Chicken Lime soup is a nice light soup with flavors reminiscent of tortilla soup but lighter and brighter due to the limey tang.   The slow roasted pork wrapped in banana leaves was simple but delicous, served with mojo sauce and tortillas. It makes me think of a well seasoned Kalua Pork (which is not so easy to find in Hawaii where tourist centric hotels and luaus usually underseason it).   The Moqueca is a Brazilian coconut seafood stew. While the seafood was generous I thought the coconut flavor was lacking which was a disappointement for me.   The asada marinated steak was very good, served with maduros (sweet plantains), yuca mashed potatoes, caramelized onions and tortillas.

The bread, served warm and brushed with butter and corn meal was extremely light, tender and melted in your mouth.   For dessert, we shared cocoa fritters with warm caramel dipping sauce. I'm not sure why they serve such a small scoop of ice cream (it should at least be the same size as a fritter) and I thought the caramel sauce was not as flavorful as it could be (i.e. not as flavorful as my own). However, you can't really argue with these lovely, freshly fried, soft and airy hot fritters.

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