The best of the Brooklyn Caribbean restaurants
There's so many to choose from as you travel down Nostrand and up Flatbush, and many are specific to certain islands too.
Does any one have their favorites?
I like Hammonds on Nostrand and ? for Jerk chicken, but I'm not necessarly looking only for Jerk chicken. I'm curious to how the different islands compare.
There are a huge amount of West Indian restaurants in Brooklyn, but a lot of them are quite disappointing. That being said, here are the gems that I've happened upon:
For Jamaican, Boston Chicken at Utica and Foster is outrageously good, although it's hard to get there (not near a subway stop). The jerk chicken has the right mix of spices and roasted flavor. I've also had the curry goat there, which is falling-off-the-bone fabulous. I also like MacKenzie's at Utica around Carroll or Crown a few blocks south of the 3/4 stop at Utica. It's strictly takeout, also really good jerk chicken. Exquisite Jerk Chicken at Church and Nostrand is fine, not a destination place I'd say. For slightly more upscale Jamaican, Brawta Cafe at Hoyt and Atlantic is alright, not as tasty, but at least you can eat there, and I also like Mo-Bay on Dekalb across from Brooklyn Hospital near Fort Greene Park.
For Haitian, Konbit on Flatbush Avenue around Prospect Place I think and E & R Restaurant on Church Avenue and East 10th are both OK; nothing special. You can get grillo (pork chunks), or chunks of goat, or limbi, the national dish (a conch dish). None of these dishes rocked my world, although there's a very spicy cabbage dressing Haitians use called "piklis" (like pickles) which is delicious. So just drown all your food in that and you'll be fine.
For Trinidadian, I love Nio's at Church and Rogers for rotis and doubles. I don't understand the people who get it without the pepper sauce, because that's what makes it so flavorful and great. I'm not a vegetarian, but I like to get the veggie roti because I like to bite into it like a sandwich or a burrito and the meat rotis usually have bones in them (the shrimp is a good solution). A & A Bake & Doubles, on Nostrand just north of Fulton, has outrageously good doubles, too, although it's only take-out. There's a place on Flatbush Avenue and Winthrop, I think, called "Nile Exquisite" that has a pretty good lunch buffet. (I think it's Trinidadian; I seem to remember seeing that flag there). You load up your plate with the stuff they've got -- lots of chicken, pretty good cabbage, mac & cheese, etc. -- and then they weigh it and charge you accordingly.
I've also been intrigued by Bamboo Express, a West-Indian style Chinese restaurant (which I think is Trinidadian or Guyanese) at Flatbush Avenue and Parkside. The rotis they have there are delightfully fluffy -- very different from what you might get at, say, Nio's. I got a jerk chicken lo mein there that was interesting and pretty tasty. There are a lot of dishes here that look interesting as well.
my favorite (though i've not tried many places) is the islands on washington near eastern parkway. excellent jerk chicken and goat curry, and extremely friendly staff. there's a small dining area upstairs, but it's mainly a take-away operation.
i ate at brawta fairly often when i lived near it. not bad, as noted upthread, but i don't think it warrants a special trip to the area.
I didn't like the jerk chicken lo mein I had at Bamboo express--it was extremely salty.
Across the street though, somewhere around there, is my favorite roti place, J&A Paradise (I think that's the name--it's a red awning). It isn't better than Nio's when Nio's fillings are fresh, but it's more consistent and they have great pumpkin and some kind of greens thing to stuff in there. The aloo pourhie and the doubles are delicious.
Just a quick comment - I've been going to Brawta on and off for the last 9 years and the quality has steadily, allbeit slowly, gone downhill. The last time I ate there was with a Restaurant.com dining certificate - our meal (for two) came to a grand total of $12 after the certificate and tip and we felt like we didn't get our money's worth. I much prefer Stir It Up on Atlantic and 3rd to Brawta, though even they're not the best in the borough by far.
Definitely second the Nio's rec. Great food!
Ali's on Fulton and Nostrand is also a good standby.
For desserts, try Conrad's, on Utica and President (or around there). In the same area is Joyce's, which has the best sea moss I've ever tasted.
For veggie fare, Veggie Castle and D'Ital Shack are OK. The best veggie restaurant, I'Qulah in Jamaica, Queens, is gone (now a hair salon).