I've been hesitant about reviewing places in the past that didn't deserve praise. A new Carbbean restaurant on the Danforth (just west of Donlands) deserves that and, even more, customers. The restaurant is Caribbean Desire's Restaurant (962 Danforth Ave.).
We've been to Desire three times now. First, on their opening day (we watched its glacial process of opening) when they were serving a buffet offering free samples and twice more for dinner off the menu. We were excited to see that, alone among many of the Caribbean restos in the GTA, this restaurant offers the specific home cooking of a particular region (Guyana in this case) and a wide range of challenging dishes. We did try the standards like jerk chicken and jerk pork -- both some of the best examples in the city.
But what truly stands out are dishes like a huge, curry-redolent bowl of oxtail, bhounjal duck (a curry duck that is served on weekends), and perfectly fried tender and fragant chunks of bangamary (a white fish not unlike pomfret). The menu, we're told, is still being revised and reprinted. (The oxtail, for example, was not on the original menu but is served daily.)
This is cheap eats and delicious food. Moreover, for those really interested in foodways, Desire demonstrates in fascinating ways how Caribbean cuisine is shaped by the exchange of South Asian and African eating traditions. This is a standout on a block that has some superb restaurants. It's very new, just opened two weeks ago, but service is friendly and prompt and food is polished and ample. (The owner stopped to chat and to tell us about his cooking and background.) Toronto has many neighborhood Caribbean restaurants. This one is worth the journey to the Danforth!