Restaurants & Bars 6

Stir It Up

bosshogg | Jun 29, 2003 01:00 AM

This place, whose awning has been teasing "West Indian Cuisine" for weeks at Atlantic near Third (Brooklyn), opened today. I headed out this afternoon intending to grab something light like a hummous sandwich, anticipating perhaps firing up the Weber later. But of course upon seeing the new place was open I had no choice but to try it.

They've done a really nice job with the physical space: it's airy, simple, visually clean, with lavender walls and plenty of seating. Though this block has changed tremendously in the last couple years, I still hadn't envisioned an inviting sit-down restaurant opening between Hank's and the Muellenberg.

The menu looks Jamaican to me: if the influence of other islands is present, it's not obvious enough for me to pick up on. Certainly nothing say Haitian or Trinidadian - except roti, but that was apparently long since exported to Jamaica. Their fish and shrimp entrees, and a chicken stir fry, will be made to order, while chicken, oxtails, and goat are served from a steam table. Jerk chicken is grilled in the kitchen, so the neighborhood won't enjoy that wonderful smoky perfume (however, per link below, someone else seems to be cooking it up a few blocks away on the sidewalk, Nostrand Ave style).

On opening day, they didn't yet have the full complement of food and drinks available, and specifically no vegetarian entrees, though they will have a few. I tried the curry goat - so much for saving my appetite for a big hunk o' grilled something-or-other carcass later. It was good but not my all-time favorite. I like some dark funky flavor in my goat; this was more light and bright and "clean". Maybe what I prefer corresponds to an older goat or sheep. But my guess is also that I'm in the minority on this one, especially in this neighborhood where my impression is that a "clean" aesthetic is emphasized in the "no-pork halal" joints and by their customers. The accompanying rice & peas and cabbage also made me think "clean" and fluffy and steamed and healthy, in a mostly good way. A small carrot juice had to be about 16 ounces, and seemed sweeter and tastier than average.

The owner (I think) also gifted me with some fish cakes - fried, battered chunks of cod - which were really terrific. This beatifully done non-oily appetizer with perfectly balanced flavors, which I imagined to be just a tad spicy but the menu lists just onion, green pepper, and scallion as flavors, makes a strong case for the sort of careful, refined preparation I gripe about re: the goat, and also re: Brawta 3 blocks down the street.

Overall: I'm delighted to have this place across the street, expanding the number of good inexpensive restaurants within two blocks of 3rd and Atlantic from one (Bedouin Tent) to two (there's Bacchus too, which may be a bargain but isn't cheap and take-outable), and am eager to explore more of their menu.

Chuck

Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

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