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Jojoto’s Offers Authentic Venezuelan Food In Connecticut

Jojoto Venezuelan Restaurant Connnecticut
Jojoto {pronounced hohoto} located in Branford, Connecticut, offers traditional Venezuelan food with a modern twist .

Last Saturday I met with hospitality publicist  Andrea Viscuso at Jojoto’s, a new restaurant that offers authentic Venezuelan food in Connecticut.  Jojoto’s, is owned by Venezuelan native Victor Figueroa, and his wife Nichola. The Food Network’s, Neil Fuentes {aka the Singing Chef} who is also a native of Venezuela is the Executive Chef.

Jojoto Executive Chef Neil Fuentes
Chef Neil Fuentes and I on the outdoor patio at Jojoto’s Venezuelan restaurant in Branford, Connecticut

Jojoto’s is located just of interstate 95 on busy Shore Drive in Branford and about a block from a private beach. Venezuelan food has a strong Caribbean influence so I thought the beach location was perfect. The restaurant offers both indoor and limited outdoor patio seating. Reservations are not required but are highly recommended and there is ample parking for restaurant patrons in the back of the building. The restaurant is bright and cozy and is a great place for a date or a night out with friends.

ShoreDriveBranford

The day was warm (finally) so I opted to sit out on the patio where I could soak up some sun, take in the beach air and of course enjoy great food.

Jojoto Venezuelan Food In Connnecticut Mojito
My delicious and refreshing mojito cocktail at Jojoto.

Once we were seated I ordered a mojito. Mojito’s are not a Venezuelan drink and is not a specialty for the restaurant. The bartenders at Jojoto’s specialize in fruit infused vodka cocktails {i.e. lavendar and lime martini, tamarindo martini, passion fruit and jalapeno cocktail}. They all sound great and I will definitely try a few of them on my next trip.

Jojoto_Venezuelan_Food_In_Connnecticut_Arepitas
Miniature arepas served with condiments

Next was arepitas, which looked like tiny dumplings from my native Jamaica served with an assortment of condiments. By itself, the arepa’s are pretty plain. However, the addition of the condiments elevated the taste. Don’t eat too much of these, however, or you will not have enough room for anything else.

Jojoto Venezuelan Food In Connnecticut Toston
The toston is a garlic seasoned deep fried unripe plantain, homemade coleslaw and spicy shrimp

Next was the toston. The combination of the garlic seasoned deep fried unripe plantain, homemade coleslaw and spicy shrimp was excellent.  This one is definite must have.

 This soup has shredded chicken, diced potatoes, milk and queso blanco cheese
This soup has shredded chicken, diced potatoes, milk and queso blanco cheese

The soup of the day was chuepe soup. This was the personal recipe of chef Fuentes mom. The soup is made from shredded chicken, diced potatoes, milk and queso blanco cheese. This is one of those comfort food dishes that you will long for during during a cold, rainy evenings.

The Arepe de Carne came next. Arepa is a flatbread made from ground maize. The corn flour dough is formed into a patty, grilled, baked, split open and stuffed with a variety of ingredients. It is known as the daily bread of Venezuela and is a popular “street food”.  The Arepa is a compact meal and would make a great choice for lunch. I ate a quarter of the one that was served and it almost did me in. It was that filling!

Jojoto Guacucos
Guacucos: small mussels with lime, shallots, shrimp fume and homemade linguini

When the guacusos made it to the table, I felt my stomach, looked at the pasta in the dish and decided to try a few bites for the sake of experience — and then pretty much ate it all. This is an EXCELLENT dish. The mussels were perfect the linguine was fresh and just as I was about to crown this dish my absolute favorite Chef Neil threw a curve ball at me and brought out the Pabellon Criollo. That’s when I realized that I was having my first food orgasm.

IMG_0002

Considered as the Venezuelan national dish, pabellon criollo is made with shredded beef, rice, black beans and served with fried plantains. It’s very close to the Jamaican stew peas, but stew peas has nothing on this dish.  This was so good that I reached over and gave Chef Neil a fist bump after my first bite. Three bites in, I honestly wanted to sling high fives to everyone else in the restaurant and moonwalk into the kitchen for more.

Dessert which included tres leche, coconut custard cake and bread pudding
Dessert: included tres leche, coconut custard cake and bread pudding

Just when I thought nothing could out do the pabellon criollo, Chef Neil brought out miniature servings of the dessert items from their menu. There was absolutely nothing on the dessert plate that I didn’t like. The Tres leches did not send me into sugar shock. The addition of the banana liquor apparently balanced the sweetness of the condensed milk that is used to make the cake. The coconut custard cake and banana bread was phenomenal. Trust me if nothing else, you definitely have to try the desserts at Jojoto’s.

Chef Neil wouldn’t sing for me, but I still give this restaurant high ratings. The food, location and the service is worth the trip to Branford if you don’t live in the area. I can’t wait to go back.

130 Shore Drive
Branford CT 06405
Instagram: @jojotorestaurant
Twitter: @@JOJOTOBranford
Tel. 203-208-4141
XoXo, Natasha

Disclosure: I was invited as a guest to sample the menu at Jojoto’s. The opinions expressed in this post were not influenced, are honest and are my own.

About Natasha Samuels

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One comment

  1. Isn’t Jojoto great?
    Anytime you want to return – I’ll be happy to meet you!

    Great recap! Neil, Victor, and Nichola are wonderful hosts! This place is a winner.
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