La Caye is a Haitian restaurant situated in the heart of downtown Brooklyn.
My starter was a faultless acra, freshly fried,the texture nicely crunchy (not dry as it is oftently the case elsewhere) on the outside, superbly soft on the inside (oftently mushy at most tropical eateries), the taste genuine (exactly as a talented Haitian Mammie-cook would cook it, but here the texture is more refined than rustic) and great. 8/10
My dining companion went on with a lambi (stewed conch) – the seafood of superb quality, cooked to a perfect chewy texture, the sauce well made. Again and again, talented Haitian Mammie cooking quality, with refined presentation. 8/10
Faultless is also how I would describe my red snapper, broiled to perfect moist consistency on the inside, the skin lightly crisp as it should, the seasoning well judged. Hard to improve upon that one. 9/10
Rounded off the meal with an excellent Pen Patat/Pain Patate (sweet potato bread), the potato flavor particularly exquisite 9/10 as well as a pineapple upside down cake which was technically baked properly and tasted fine, but I had pineapple upside down cakes which pineapple flavor was more expressive than this one.
Pros: A first-rate Haitian restaurant
Cons: No Rhum at a Haitian restaurant (there was none on the evening of my visit)?
Overall: 8/10 (Categ: Finest Haitian restaurant in North America) Many restaurants cooking caribbean food suffer from occasional issues such as rice not moist enough because it was not cooked to order, fried bananas bathed too long in oil, overcooked seafood, etc. In a nutshell, issues due to a problem of time management. And yet, you get used to it. But during this meal, not one single item could be faulted on the aspect of the timing (cooking of the fish? timed right. The plantain bananas. same thing. the lambi, same thing, etc). For someone like me who expects a certain degree of mastery (mastery of the timing of the cooking in this example) at a restaurant, the level of perfection found on this evening had to eventually jump to my attention. I liked La Caye (a small but tastefully decorated interior, bathed in dark wood, good service) as it offers refined food that is genuinely Haitian. But it can be pricey ( fresh quality ingredients, which is what they use — especially seafood — is never going to be cheap, obviously ). La Caye, Addr: 35 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217, United States Phone:+1 718-858-4160 http://www.lacayebk.com/#!menu/c24tf
What I think weeks later: Sometimes people ask me if it is possible to have an accurate opinion of some food if you are not from the country of the food you are assessing. You do not need to be from the country of the food you are talking about. I do not need to be Haitian to understand genuine Haitian flavors. You can be Haitian and have no real interest in Haitian food. The key, if you can’t afford travelling, is to reach out to a Haitian friend’s Mom and ask her to cook some Haitian food for you and teach you how genuine Haitian food should taste, smell and feel like. Ask the same thing to 2,3 other Haitian Moms and next time you will know what you are talking about, lol. That said, in North America, most Haitian eateries do usually reproduce the flavors of the homeland effortlessly —- that is widely confirmed by Haitians of all generations, eventhough you can always be surprised, at times, by some few laughable attempts at Haitian cooking (especially here in Montreal) — and La Caye is no exception, though, for now, it stands as the best Haitian restaurant that I know in North America.