Via Venezuela

Casabe 305's culinary crusade across Latin America

Miami is in the midst of a Venezuelan culinary renaissance.

We have longed for elevated Venezuelan cooking since Cacao shuttered in 2009 and its chef, Edgar Leal, left town. Now, the easygoing Casabe 305 Bistro and its talented chef, Diego Texera, are primed to fulfill that need.

Texera moved to the Magic City from Choroni, Venezuela, via Mexico, and his elegant comfort food uses his native cuisine as a point of entry for a freewheeling culinary crusade across Latin America.

We recommend beginning with the Venezuelan staple tequeños ($6), its fried dough strips filled with queso blanco and propped on a bracing chipotle-guava sauce. Think pigs in a blanket on a dairy bender.

If it's available, order the genius mango soup ($10), served warm with a cluster of finely chopped ají dulce (sweet pepper).

Another of Texera's brilliant preparations, escabeche de guineos niños (pictured; $6), peers across the Caribbean to Puerto Rico. Small green bananas are pickled with olives and onions, the plants' starchy give tempered by piquant acidity. We keep daydreaming about Texera's escabeche, so we secured the recipe.

Time to bring the Venezuelan boom to our home kitchen.