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Restaurants & Bars

Veggie Castle is da bomb

bennyt | Mar 11, 200704:46 PM     12

Today we made our second trip to Veggie Castle II (in South Richmond Hill, Queens), and it rocks. It's a veggie Caribbean place at Liberty Ave and 132nd St. (right of the Van Wyck); apparently, the original Veggie Castle is housed in what used to be a White Castle burger place in Flatbush. There are quite a few vegetarian Caribbean restaurants in Brooklyn, but our "Veg Out" book claims that Veggie Castle is the best, and we live in Queens, so Veggie Castle II was (somewhat) accessible.

At any rate, the food is great, and the West Indian guys who run it are so laid back and nice. It's take out only (I think they have exactly one stool in the back), so be prepared to eat in the car (we had no trouble finding parking out front) or take home.

There are several meal combinations to choose from, which include a specified number of "proteins" and "sides". I get the feeling that these offerings rotate on a daily basis, so in our two trips we may not have seen all there is. The highlights of the "proteins" were the "ox tail" stew (don't know what meat substitute it was, but it was so good- tasted like perfectly grilled smoky meat), "chicken" drumsticks (in a very tangy sweet and sour sauce), and jerk tofu. Everything was well-spiced and tasty. There was also barbecued "salmon," some kind of meatloaf, and jerk shrimp, but we have yet to try those. The highlights of the sides include a brick of appropriately jiggly macaroni and cheese, rice and black-eyed peas (they have several rice and bean dishes, and lo-mein, and some other stuff). In addition to the proteins and sides, there are several kinds of veggie patties, and a comprehensive juice bar.

For about 5 bucks you get one protein and two sides, for 7 bucks you get two and two- and they lovingly cram as much food as can possibly fit in the pie tin that will hold your 'combo'. My wife and I shared a two and two for lunch the first time we went. This time, I got my own, at it at around 1pm, and have been disgustingly full ever since.

Also, right next door is Sybil's Bakery, which has some great Caribbean (and Asian?) treats - in additon to baked goods, a complete selection of Caribbean juices and sodas, including the traditional sorrel juice, which stands up great to the spicy food, but gets painfully sweet after a while. Actually, now that I think about it, Sybil's also has lunch food (but not specifically veg).

I can't praise this place highly enough.

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