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Dec 8, 2011 07:13 AM

Canarsie ercs?

Heading to Canarsie this weekend to explore food out that way. The recs for Canarsie are few and far between on these boards. The only place mentioned more than once by hounds is: Teena's Cake Fair on Ralph Ave (near Foster).

I would be grateful for your recommendations for great places to try of any cuisine (and doesn't have to be veg.!).

Teena's Cake Fair
1568 Ralph Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11236

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  1. I have to admit that, if you go by reasonable neighborhood boundaries, I dont think I've ever had anything notable in Canarsie. There's a Haitian place called "Ambiance"? that someone told me was good once, but I'm not sure. Check with and see if Dave Cook has ever found anything there. Sorry.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Steve R

      PS: We had hoped to try Ambiance (on Ave. L) but just didn't have the stomach capacity left. Looked very clubby, interestingly.... :)

    2. Nearby Bergen Beach and Mill Basin may have a few interesting restaurants.

      1. Thanks anyways. We'll have to wing it!

        1. Canarsie, what took me so long to get to you?? Great time food crawling Canarsie today. We started at Dougie's on Ave. L for some Jamaican food. Interestingly, fried chicken served with a spicy tomato-based sauce seems to be the house specialty. Almost everyone else was ordering it. But we stuck w/typical Jamaican fare: jerk chicken, ackee & salt fish, and peas & rice.

          Great jerk chicken (though a bit dry) with housemade jerk sauce (perfect balance of sweet with a spicy finish and hints of thyme and allspice). Ackee and salt fish was mild and pleasingly fishy in a turmeric-tinged yellow sauce. Not at all oily. The peas & rice were absolutely addictive -- cooked in coconut milk, so there was a distinct, though not overpowering, coconut flavor to the rice. Also picked up a container of their housemade spicy pickle mix: Scotch bonnet pepper slices, onions, carrots and turnip(?) in vinegar -- like Matouk's West Indian hot sauce deconstructed. Really tasty and incredibly hot! Everyone was exremely friendly -- from the folks running the counter, to the cook (who stopped by to see what we thought of his food) and even Dougie himself. A total pleasure.

          We also grabbed some beef, chicken and veg. patties with coco buns at Tastee Pattee Bakery and Grill on Rockaway Parkway. Flaky pastry shells -- rich! I can only vouch for the veggie filling, which was sparingly applied but quite good: a mix of greens and onions and seasoned with Scotch bonnet peppers in some form (maybe a hot sauce). Unfortunately, the coco buns were almost entirely devoid of coconut flavor, but they were moist and soft. With a patty tucked inside, it was carb on carb goodness.

          Tastee Pattee also had some other interesting looking breads (spice loaf, sweet loaf, Barbados bread, duck bread, toe to) and slides of bread, cassava, and potato pudding. The food in the steam table at the back looked a bit worse for the wear, but there was a steady stream of patrons making their way to the steam table for takeout dinner.

          We also spent quite a bit of time in Smally West Indian Market on Ave. L. The owner is from Guyana, and he and his son spent more than half-an-hour taking us around the store pointing out Guyanese ingredients (they even shared their recipe for jerk seasoning and sent us home with the 4 necessary herbs and chilies). We picked up some frozen wiri wiri peppers imported from Guyana (they look like cherries but are supposed to be incredibly hot:, as well as some dried cow peas and a bottle of Matouk's Hot Chow sauce. The market also stocks whole frozen fish from Guyana and has a whole wall of dried herbs that can be used for various home remedies.

          Dougie's Jamaican Cuisine
          9604 Avenue L, Brooklyn, NY 11236

          Tastee Pattee
          1431 Rockaway Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11236

          Smally West Indian Food Market
          9419 Avenue L, Brooklyn, NY 11236

          6 Replies
          1. re: CitySpoonful

            Great report. The only place I've found in Canarsie propper worth eating at is Sonny's Deli. It's very good vestige of the old 'hood, but with nowhere to sit or eat nearby it's not the best in the winter months. I can't wait to try Dougie's and try that fried chicken. Sounds good if at least interesting.

            Sonny's Heros
            1031 E 92nd St, Brooklyn, NY 11236

            1. re: SpiceJunkies

              I'll second Sonny's, and also reccomend Bell Bialy on Foster Ave. $5 by the dozen, fresh out of the oven!

              Bagels by Bell
              10013 Foster Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11236

              Sonny's Heros
              1031 E 92nd St, Brooklyn, NY 11236

            2. re: CitySpoonful

              Bravo. So refreshing to read about stuff in less-covered neighborhoods. Nice work.

              1. re: CitySpoonful

                Great report. Thanks. FYI, so you won't be disappointed next time, coco buns don't actually have coconut in them.
                Would you say Smally Market is worth traveling out there for?

                1. re: missmasala

                  Yes, if you're curious about Guyanese herbs, fish, condiments, home remedies, wiri wiri peppers, definitely go! The owner, Smally (his name is actually Orin Small), is extremely friendly and was very happy to talk with us about Guyanese food. And you can get the Matouk's Hot Chow sauce there (which is my new addiction, btw).

              2. Am I too late to suggest What's A Bagel on 11112 Flatlands Avenue? It's a quaint little place that does an interesting take on a Mexican made bagel and bialy.

                What's a Bagel
                11112 Flatlands Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11207

                2 Replies
                1. re: David11238

                  David11238, Many thanks. We're plotting a 2nd baked goods excursion to hit Teena's and Bell Bialy, so What's a Bagel is duly noted! I'm curious -- what does a Mexican-made bagel/bialy entail?

                  1. re: CitySpoonful

                    It's been about two years, however, I remember the bagels being between medium & large sized, with a crispy outside and a sublime sweet, almost angel cake textured inside. I also remember these guys pumping bagels from the oven around every20to 30 minutes. Their bialy seemed more earthy tasting, again, with a hint of sweetness, and very chewy. Amazingly, both tasted pretty good a couple of days after when I reheated them.

                    These guys are in the psuedo-mall parking lot where Optimum/Cablevision has their office. Look for the meth-lab looking storefront with the "What's A Bagel" sign. I do hope the place is still good.

                    What's a Bagel
                    11112 Flatlands Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11207