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Dec 22, 2005 12:30 AM

Goat Roti at Penny's Caribbean Cuisine--it's for real

  • h

Penny makes as good a goat roti as any I've had in Crown Heights or Flatbush, Brooklyn, and better than most. The meat is tender and aromatic, the curried vegetables green-tinged with spice. The dal puri wrapper is flaky and fresh. Fine, fine hot sauce. Really delicious.

Penny is lovely. She had to be convinced to let us help her unload her groceries into the restaurant when she pulled up in front at precisely noon. It took about a half hour for her to make our rotis, during which time we shared the front space with a boy of about ten (her son?) who was watching Pierce Brosnan in "Robinson Crusoe" on the TV, listening to soca on the computer, and fooling around with a water color set. But it was comfy and wow was that food worth the wait.

A couple of orders came in while we were having our meal, but it didn't seem as if Jonathan Rosenbaum's review was serving as a clarion call to the people of Berkeley. It should, though. By all means, join me in beating a path to Penny's door.

Penny’s Caribbean Cuisine
2836 Sacramento Street
(at Oregon), Berkeley.
Noon–9:00 p.m. Mon.–Sat.
Cash only


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  1. I'm looking forward to trying this place--good review in the Express. Thanks for your report. (By the way, the name is J. Kauffman.)

    1. Thanks for the report and the comparison to other roti.

      Have you tried the other two places mentioned in the review? Reading Kaufmann's review, it was interesting to note that Ma's is serving some Nigerian dishes.

      I'm sorry I didn't buy something the one time I saw Ma's was open. Every time I've gone by there it has been closed. However, I'm interested to see what they have in Nigerian food.

      Where else have you tried the roti in the Bay Area?

      1 Reply
      1. re: rworange

        I don't think I've had roti anywhere around here before. I've had curried goat here before in various places, but it was Jamaican. Where I grew up in Flatbush the Trinidadians I knew were pretty adamant about not wanting to eat Jamaican or Guyanese food, and now that I've had Penny's curry I can taste the difference. This meat had a more concentrated sauce than the Jamaican curries. I'll bet an inquiry on the New York Outer Boroughs board would generate some interest, in articulating the differences between the curries of the different nations. I'll ask them.

      2. Wow, that place is great! I went there with a friend today, and we had a great lunch. The curried goat roti and the jerk chicken roti were both fantastic, especially the goat. The roti itself is very nicely doughy, and the goat was tender and stringy in a way that I like, and very flavorful. They're both reasonably hot, and a teensy dab of the hot sauce really amps up the heat. We also had the phuloris, which are little fritters with mango chutney on them. They were very nice. The sorrel is terrific, too, and the ginger beer is extremely gingery, but I'd say not quite as good as the sorrel.

        2 Replies
        1. re: David Boyk

          Yes, also loved the sorrel. Maybe you can try the sea moss sometime, since it's not really a drink for ladies.


          1. re: heidipie

            Yeah, my friend Maria and I wanted to try the sea moss and the mauby, but Penny said they were both out. Next time!

        2. Roti (Jerk Chicken) & Phuloris were absolutely wonderful. Cant wait to go there again...Its a must go.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rdabke

            Thanks for a little update on Penny's. I really liked it on my visit, but it is not in a neighborhood I'm in often and forget about it.

            It's also good to here she is in business. Did she seem to have enough customers? I think (or hope) she is in a neighbothood where there isn't much good food and it meets the needs of locals. It may be one of those places that don't need publicity and thrives on word of mouth from people who don't usually read restaurant reports.

            I might be down that way tommorrow and it seems like a good time to stop by. I didn't try the phuloris yet. Or maybe the breakfast with a bake.


          2. Are these the same people who have a stand at the Berkeley Ashby BART Flea Market? I thought the name was Daniel's, but he did open a restaurant in the neighborhood you mention.

            2 Replies
            1. re: chocolatetartguy

              Nope. Penny's is run by Penny ... a woman.

              1. re: chocolatetartguy

                Daniels' Caribbean Kitchen
                1246 Carrison St
                Berkeley, CA
                Phone: (510) 644-8383
                Dunno how good, bad or ugly the food...Anyone else try it yet??