Everyone has those days when you long for white sand beaches, caipirinhas and Caribbean cuisine. While the beaches of Manhattan are never going to be anything worth dreaming of, New York’s hottest new restaurants are taking a page from more temperate waters. Between celebrity chefs and former nightclub doormen, wise restaurateurs are spicing up the restaurant scene with cloves, curry, and coconut.
Red Rooster: Marcus Samuelsson’s latest restaurant pays homage to global soul food, so naturally he’d find some inspiration in island fare. While Harlem has its share of comfort food joints, Red Rooster serves it up in style. Start with the stewed Oxtail & Plantains or Blackened Catfish with Black Eyed Peas, best followed by silky Coconut Caramel Flan.
(Pictured above: Blackened Catfish with Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens)
Spur Tree: Named after a Jamaican town, this low-key lounge is all about jerkin’ and jivin’. This sliver of a space doesn’t try as much with the décor as it does with the dishes. All the Caribbean classics are covered, from Jerk Chicken and Salmon to Whole Fried Red Snapper. Kick back with a Red Stripe in the outdoor garden and its instant vacation with a reggae heavy soundtrack.
Picture: Red Stripe Beer Battered Shrimp Tempura with Sweet Chili Sauce
Miss Lily’s: With nightlife impresarios at the helm, it’s no surprise that you’ll find a doorman outside Miss Lily’s. Divided into two distinct spaces, the front area has a vintage diner feel with red vinyl booths, while the back dining room is dark and sexy with wraparound black banquettes. Don’t be surprised by your fellow dreaded diners indulging in authentic Curry Goat, the authentic Caribbean feel has made instant fans of the Rastafarian community.
Picture: Jamaican Curry Goat with Irish Potatoes