Surinamese Indonesian on Liberty Avenue
was cruzing down liberty avenue in Jamaica - a virtual plethra of east indian and caribbean food and spotted a new restaurant called Warung Kario which touted itself as serving Halal Surinamese Indonesian Cuisine.
only tried a few snacks, one being bakabana - a huge piece of fried plantain served with a really really amazing peanut sauce - spicy sweet and nutty all at the same time and one large skewer of chicken satay doused with the same delicious peanut sauce.
each snack was $2 per piece.
Very fresh and tasty.
I grabbed a menu as we were leaving , which had descriptions of the items listed on the board (had no idea what many things were)
here's some of the highlights
saoto soup indonesian soup with chicken potatoes egg and beansprouts $6
bamie soup - indonesian noodle soup
petjel - indonesian blend vegetables served with peanut sauce (sounds like gado gado)
goedangan - indonesian veg salad with spicy coconut dressing
nasie - indonesian style fried rice with chicken
teloh - cassava with chicken or saltfish and vegetables
BB met R - suriname style beans with rice and BB chicken
tjauw-min met doks - chinese style noodles with duck
gestoodfde vis met rijst - fish in tomato, onion, and pepper sauce with rice
has anyone else tried this place? I am hoping to get back there soon to try some other dishes. (note only had the satay and fried plantain)
is this place good for a small group dinner, 6 people or so? all descriptions sound like carryout/steamtable, and I'm planning to bring some out-of-towners there. otherwise, I have to choose between minang asli and upi jaya, and I'm torn between the two as well. I would love to try this new place tho, and leaning towards minang asli since upi jaya just looks kinda depressing these days.
it's bright and clean, and the ladies on duty will bring the food to your table, but the overall impression may remind you more of a very nice steam table joint than a minimalist restaurant. That said, it's only a little less formal than Minang Asli; if you don't think that's too bare-bones, Warung Kario won't throw you, either.
It may be that Warung Kario still hasn't mastered consistency. I grew up in Suriname, so I was excited to try this place out, and dropped by on a recent Saturday evening (maybe around 6).
We had loempia, pitjel, and saoto soup. The loempia had clearly been sitting around for a while, having grown a little soggy, and seemed to use mung bean sprouts in its stuffing instead of soya bean sprouts. It makes a difference in texture because of the much smaller width of soya bean sprouts. Some loempias in Suriname also include a thinner version of string beans in them that I would have loved to have seen. The spicy kejap that came with the loempia was faultless, though.
Gado gado and pitjel are slightly different dishes, but I wasn't too impressed with the quality of the vetegables in the pitjel. Again, sogginess was an issue, as the green beans and sprouts were water-logged and, to be frank, not the freshest-looking. The peanut sauce, on the other hand, was also faultless.
Lastly, the saoto came out disappointingly bland. This was a bit of a heartbreaker, since it's the dish I miss most from my childhood. You could taste the right blend of bay leaf and allspice that give this soup its character, but they could have used about 1/3 less water. I was also surprised at just how much chicken they put into it (all white meat, at that)--it actually was a bit too much for me. The peppered soy sauce that comes with the soup, though, was (surprise) faultless.
I'm hoping that I caught Warung Kario on an off night, but with all the tempting roti shops in the area, it might be tough for me to make it all the way out to the end of the C line again without ending up wanting to try something else.
Alright, the place was pretty much excellent. The lovely woman behind the counter (and I believe owner) set my companion and I up with tasting plates that had basically the entire menu on them. Stewed chicken, chicken gizzards and liver, dried salt fish, okra, fried rice, noodles, fried cassava, and probably one or two more items that don't immediately come to mind. We also got an orangeade and a ginger beer. The fried cassava was tasty and like an extra special french fry (very similar to Fujianese fried taro fritters which I love), the noodles were very tasty but not particularly great or revolutionary, but the rice was really pretty damn good (very tasty.) The best were the three more "main" dishes. The chicken was tasty and perfectly cooked. It had a bit more chew than most and was probably sourced from one of the local halal markets. Good flavor. Even better was the chicken
gizzards which packed some real heat and had a variety of competing flavors which all finished with the taste of chicken liver. Really good. Then there was the salt fish which packed similar levels of heat and was very similar to Bangladeshi shutki. The salt fish was a big winner for me, but I like that sort of stuff a lot. The drinks were only OK. The orangeade was good, but not $4 good and the ginger beer was so-so (heavy on the fresh ginger flavor but I much prefer the homemade ginger beer from a few other places (ei. The Islands.)) The lady was lovely and after talking to her for a while she ended up giving us an amazing dessert which was almost like a cross between raisin pound cake and an Indian syrup covered sweet. Deeelicious. Oh yeah, her parents moved from Indonesia to Suriname so she's a pretty recent arrival compared to many. She still speaks proper Indonesian as well as Surinam Creole and Dutch. Apparently she's been getting quite a few Dutch customers who live or work in Manhattan! I wish her the best and I'll be back there later this week. Also, I arrived later in the day. Apparently most of her stuff sells out by the end of lunch time. She told me that if I want one dish (15 dollars on the menu) I should actually be there a few minutes before she opens at 11:30 on a Saturday as it sells out by about noon or 12:30pm
The whole meal with a satoe soup to go (packed in seperate containers without having to ask but I haven't had it yet) was $24. That includes enough food to totally fill me beyond belief, enough food to cause my mother to have to take nearly half home, a really big soup to go, two expensive drinks, and dessert. I like!
Sorry, but I'm going to supply the contrary, negative opinion on Warung Kario.
We were there yesterday for lunch. We started with the Loempia, a room temperature eggroll stuffed with veggies and chicken. It came with a nice kacip that was probably homemade.
That was followed by the Baka Bana. We were hoping to just try 1 piece but were told an order was 3 for $5. Based on some of the reports above we thought it would come swimming in the delicious peanut sauce. What we got were 3 plantains with about a 1/4 cup of peanut sauce on the side. It was just barely enough for the 3 plantains which were served lukewarm. This dish was OK but not worth $5.
We also got a Petjel, described on the menu as "Indonesian Blend Vegetables Served with Peanut Hot". We were hoping for something similar to Gado-Gado. What we got was string beans topped with the same peanut sauce as the Baka Bana, with some bean sprouts on top. It was good, and certainly the best dish we tried, but not nearly as good as Upi Jaya's Gado-Gado, where you get a mix of vegetables topped with a better peanut sauce and lots of shrimp crackers. Even Minang Asli's gado-gado, which isn't nearly as good as Upi Jaya's was better than this.
Our final dish was the Teloh, described as "Cassava with Chicken or Saltfish & Vegetables". We ordered it with the saltfish, which was described above as "packed ... real heat". It was tasty, but definitely no heat. The "vegetables" consited of one slice of pickled onion and 3 lices of marinated cucumber. But worse, there's nothing in the world worse than cold cassava. Hot, crunchy and crispy it's great. But "like a taro fritter"???? Only if your taro fritter has been sitting around all day.
I was hoping for better but I can't see any reason to go back.
re: el jefe
That all sounds pretty odd. While I can't really argue with the gado-gado issue (it is Surinamese food rather than proper Indonesian after all), the rest sounds pretty odd. In my experience, the fried items (egg rolls and baka bana for ei) were made to order. Were you getting the left overs of the somewhat earlier heavy lunch rush? Also, the saltfish was very spicy when I had it and I'm one of those people who orders very very spicy at Zabb Thai, Chao Thai, Srip, and cooks food so hot that his roommates can't eat it. All in all a very odd and uncharacteristic experience. Which woman was serving you?
I was there at 1:15 on Sunday. There were full trays of food on the steam table. There was no one in there when we arrived, but 3 or 4 tables filled after we arrived. If anything, we were early, rather than late. There were two women doing the serving. They appeared to be a mother and daughter.
I wasn't questioning your tolerance for spice. I understand "spicy" too, and this wasn't.