Haitian food in New Jersey
An interesting family-owned, slightly upscale, place serving "French Caribbean" cuisine just opened in South Orange (Le Kiosque, 260 Valley Street, South Orange, NJ 07079). Turns out it is authentic Haitian food - the grilled conch, Creole shrimp, "black rice," and dried and fried beef are all excellent.
I know there are large Haitian-American communities in Orange, Irvington, Roselle and Asbury Park. Anyone know of other restaurants serving Haitian food?
There is a very large Haitian community in Elizabeth where I used to work. I've never eaten there but there is a restaurant/deli called Au Bon Gout at 1057 Magnolia Ave. (I think there is a Haitian fish market next door too.) I'm honestly not even sure if it is a sit down restaurant. It would be a place to check out if you're up for a little adventure.
Saveur Creole in Montclair is delicious and I believe the owner is from Haiti.
From their site:
Our Restaurant Menu is comprised not only of a delectable and traditional Haitian Creole delights, but also it celebrates Cajun Creole, Spanish Creole, Dutch and Portuguese Creole. Make sure to tell us your spice level. Bon Bini!
Ok, so I finally made it over to the Haitian joint in Asbury.
Some of you may have been to this spot when Diaz/Jose Rice & Beans used to be there. The layout is unchanged, but they don't really seem do dining room business any more. Occasionally someone's eating at the counter but mostly they're doing takeout. I went with a friend and sat and ate at the counter. This place is a true dive. They have no printed menus - their entire selection is scribbled on a whiteboard with markers, and they literally only serve about 6 dishes.
When we walked in the first thing the lady at the counter said was "You know this isn't Jose any more right?" She seemed genuinely surprised that we were actually interested in trying Haitian food.
We went with the chicken stew and fried goat, some of the other menu items I remember are fried pork, fish, and calaloo.
Disclaimer: I've never had Haitian food before.
I though both dishes were delicious and this experience really reminded me of the old Chowhound spirit, finding an obscure joint off the beaten path that no one seems to care about, yet they're somehow putting out tasty food cooked with care and love. Unfortunately as I've never had haitian food before, I have nothing to compare it to but my mouth says it was yummy. The fried goat was chopped up pieces of bone-in goat that seem to have been deep fried then tossed with a picked onion hot sauce. This hot onion sauce is fantastic, so be sure to ask for extra if you're into heat! The meat is chewy yet tender, with good amounts of fat and skin here and there. The bone comes out crunchy from the frying and you can eat the edges of the crispy bones, if you're into that kind of thing. I loved it. I got one thin crispy piece that was like a bone cracker. Mmm. My friend got the chicken stew - also very tasty and offers a nice counterpoint to the goat. I'd say if you were to try two dishes there these should be the ones to start with. Portions are generous, and prices are 11$ for most items.
If you're in the area and looking for a true Chow experience, I suggest you skip the boardwalk and Cookman check this place out (and Castaways next door, where they're serving up tasty Jamaican fare).
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