From the Cliffs of Jamaica to the Island of Manhattan
Having seen the clear blue waters of Jamaica and eaten some fantastic jerk in the cliffs at the Rockhouse Hotel in Negril, I never pass up the opportunity to relive the experience when I find Jamaican cuisine closer to home. Back in New York City sits Miss Lily’s, a place to sample some Jamaican creations. Not only that, the folks from the Rockhouse have a hand in this Jamaica-esque establishment.
It reminded me of a clean, old-school diner with dim lighting and that typical Jamaica-time service – take that as you please. I sat at the bar to sample a little food, but had to be in and out. Without hesitation I was told to try the jerk chicken, so I did. It arrived perfectly seasoned and charred all over with a side of mango chutney and cucumber salad. They also presented me with a squeeze bottle labeled “jerk sauce,” which I happily doused on my meal. NB: The sauce is HOT! Though I was short on time, I was not leaving there without a side of rice and peas (beans) and of course a cold bottle of Ting, Jamaican grapefruit soda, to quench my thirst. Miss Lily’s remains on my list to return for a meal where I can linger, Jamaican-style.
Miss Lily’s, 132 West Houston Street, New York, NY 10012, 646-588-5375, www.misslilysnyc.com
A New Take on Thai from a Top Chef
Chef Harold Dieterle of Perilla does not mess around when it comes to a flavor punch. I was happy to check out his newest endeavor, Kin Shop, a contemporary take on Thai food. I sat at the counter in front of the kitchen and watched the show.
It began with the Spicy Duck Laab Salad, one of the house specials. Served in romaine lettuce cups sprinkled with toasted rice along with some ground chili, this dish was spicy in true Thai form.
Next was the Stir Fried Ramp Pad See Ew. Traditional? No. But Ramps and Pad See Ew? Yes, please! It was carefully executed but simply served with scrambled duck egg, white asparagus and pickled ramp bulbs. On the side, I ordered the Chili Jam, a smooth puree of nothing but sweet and spicy chili sauce flavor, a fantastic accompaniment, along with the Crispy Roti bread for dipping. Last, but certainly not least, was the highlight of the evening, of which I received the last one: the house special Quail Served in a Pineapple Curry Sauce. I found myself eating the pineapple sauce like soup as I savored every last bite. Props to Harold on his spin on traditional Thai dishes. I’ll be back.
Kin Shop, 469 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10011, 212-675-4295,
Andrew “Kappy” Kaplan loves food. A professionally trained chef, these days you’ll find him on the road talking up kids and cooking as Director of Yum-o! and keeping special projects running smoothly for Rach, all the while taking a bite here and a bite there as he samples and shares local flavor from across the country, from taco trucks to fancier finds. Follow Kappy on Twitter to see what’s On Kappy’s Plate!