Yesterday I was strolling through Carroll Gardens (okay, I was running out to buy toilet paper) and remembered a discussion about a new Carribbean place that had opened up on Union Street in "Carroll Gardens West" (aka Red Hook). I was a bit hungry and decided to go check it out.
The restaurant, called Shadow Bennies was, as promised, two doors down from the bakery Helen's. (Union between Hicks and Columbia, just across the BQE) I walked in to find three tables, two of which were occupied (one by a guy who seemed to work there and was just reading the paper) and a few long wooden benches. The food was presented in cafeteria fashion and included two chicken dishes, one beef, macaroni and cheese, callaloo, rice and peas. I think that's it. The owner immediately leapt into action after I asked him for a menu, ladling out portions of each of the items onto a paper plate. He encouraged me to taste everything and then order what I liked. I decided on the beef curry and the (very slightly) spicy chicken with the rice - he put some callaloo on my plate as well. A woman came over and asked me what I wanted to drink; no Diet Coke, unfortunately, so I ordered water.
Everything was tasty. The beef was flavorful, if a wee bit gristly; the chicken was mildly spicy and peppery. It tasted like home cooking, actually. Halfway through my meal, the owner came by and gave me some hot roti bread. It didn't occur to me until I was finished that I should have asked for some hot sauce. He strikes me as the kind of guy who would just whip some up.
There were no prices given anywhere and I didn't ask, but the bill came to 10.50 (a dollar for the water). I thought this might be a bit high for the informality of the lunch and the quantity (it was certainly sufficient, but not generous. Or maybe I was just hungry.) The owner told me that he does a $10 all you can eat brunch every Sunday at 1 with 10 dishes, and that might be the thing to do - though I don't know where he'll put everyone if he gets a big turnout!
Anyway, it's definitely worth a try and an interesting addition to the neighborhood.
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