Nestled in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, passed the many storefront churches that line Rogers Avenue like an open gate welcoming, holding the hands of food enthusiasts down the cool walk to the corner of Sullivan place to bear witness to The Food Sermon of Chef Ralston Williams. This new addition to the catalog of Caribbean restaurants indigenous to that area is sure cut from a different cloth. To greet me at the entrance were the lyrics of the late Gregory Isaacs: “If I don’t if I don’t have you, then for me their’ll be nobody else…” playing from the overhead speakers as a voice asked “how can I help you?”
I reviewed and placed an order for one of the “usual suspects” off the tailored and easy to understand menu that caters to the meat lover, vegetarian and vegan crowd. At the register, I quizzically asked how the mauby was made, a drink that starts by boiling tree bark with other spices. Luckily for me their mauby iced tea is a natural brew and not made with the notorious concentrated liquid. I sat on a sturdy stool and waited for my food as I looked out the windows that gave the restaurant much natural light. Inhaling the invigorating scents of different spices, one of the beautiful dark-skinned workers brought over a mason jar and the cold bottle of mauby iced tea I ordered.
Shortly after, picking up my order from the counter I noticed and felt refreshed to not be served food I grew up eating piled high and packed tight in hot aluminum containers. Even take-out orders were packaged in recycled paper boxes.
I ate warm, fall-of-the-bone tender lamb shank, white rice and red beans in a large dramatic white bowl. The grand presentation made it easy to devour, two friends can enjoy this one meal comfortably. The red beans were bland but I’m sure the spicy tomato and coconut ginger sauce, a part of “the island bowl” would eliminate that. I also had the mini roti and curried goat. Two small pieces of warm folded roti made with fennels seeds, I hardly missed the powdery dust of the grounded split pea I felt on my fingers all my life.
Without a gamey taste the perfectly cooked pieces of curried goat meat scoffed down with sweet potato, channa and a couple dashes of a fruity more than spicy pepper sauce was a winner. And, it did not leave a yellow stain on my fingertips – evidence I spent time in Brooklyn eating East Indian influenced food 🙂
In conclusion, the chef and his staff are doing great things, I’ll be heading back to The Food Sermon to try all items on the menu. I can’t wait for the chef to start desserts and I know he’ll make a delicious cassava pone!