Yerba Buena is a Phoenix – it keeps dying and coming back to life. As of May 2013, it is back in operation.
Current location: Clintonville
4490 Indianola Ave
Clintonville (about five blocks south of Morse Road)
May 17th update: Hours 3:30 to 8:30 pm, Wednesday to Saturday. Cash Only.
Yerba Buena is an offshoot of the popular Venezuelan restaurant El Arepazo located on N Pearl St in downtown Columbus. Interestingly, the roots of El Arepazo are in street food – their success in selling handmade arepas at the annual Latino Festival is what led to the restaurant in the first place. Now, six years later, they have a swanky new trailer offering a limited selection from the restaurant menu.
We caught up with them on their first day of operation (at the Earth Day celebration in Franklin Park) so I’m guessing the truck menu may expand over the summer. They plan to be at the major festivals this summer and are looking into weekday locations. For the moment the El Arepazo Facebook page is the best place for information.
We sampled the patacon – which was every bit as good as it is at the restaurant. A flattened and fried sweet plantain topped with your choice of beef, chicken or pork and then topped with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, avocado and El Arepazo’s famous cilantro salsa. Not the most graceful street food to eat but worth the effort.
The fish tacos were equally satisfying: a flour tortilla with crisp breaded cod hidden under a mound of lettuce, corn, avocado, salsa and that fantastic cilantro sauce. Yerba Buena offers a selection of juices (and also Mexican Jarritos sodas) to wash down your food. I tried the ‘tomatoe tree’ juice (aka tamarillo or tomato de arbol), which has a slightly tangy, not too sweet and complex flavor.