/ The New York City Traveler
New York — By Steve Mirsky on May 15, 2010 at 11:54 pm
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Haitian Culinary Culture at Krik Krak

I hope I’m wrong but it seems like the glaring spotlight on Haiti’s epic earthquake aftermath is flickering out and has all but given way to the usual celebrity news cycle and crisis-of-the-moment coverage like the Gulf oil spill.  I see startling parallels between Haiti and New Orleans as well.  Both were permanently altered by natural disaster exposing longstanding inequities bubbling just under the surface.  Both are also culinary hotbeds.  Here in NYC, you can do your part by keeping Haitian culinary culture alive .

Legumes Choux

On the Upper West Side at 844 Amsterdam Ave., tiny unassuming Krik Krak Haitan Restaurant serves authentic dishes straight from the island.  First off, I bet you’re wondering about the name.  In Haitian Creole, Krik means “would you like to hear a story?” and Krak means “yes!” The story at Krik Krak is French-accented Haitian cuisine, a hybrid of Spanish, Jamaican, and African cooking. For starters, I urge you to get “kraking” with some Akra de Malanga, dumplings deep fried to a thick crunchy golden brown served with a spicy dipping salsa.

Next dive into their Griot, crisp fried chunks of pork (similar in appearance to oxtail); Bouillon Haitien, a vegetable consomm of beef and crab; or Lambi Creole, diced conch bubbling in a spicy sauce.  Look out for their weekly menu offerings like okra stew (Monday), string- and lima-bean stew (Tuesday), and Legumes Choux, a stew consisting of tender cabbage and flaky codfish (Friday).

All entrees include a side salad, rice and beans, and delicately fried or boiled plantains. This place is BYOB but I recommend going for the full island experience pairing your meal with one of their fresh natural fruit juices, especially the passion fruit.  Walls lined with brightly colored indigenous paintings, an unpretentious and laid back atmosphere, and friendly service creates an oasis far away from the hustle and rushed service of Manhattan’s dining tourist circuit.

By subway:  Take the 1 train to 103rd Street and Broadway. Walk one block to Amsterdam Ave, then down to 101st Street. Open daily 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

photo courtesy of www.gastronomie-enligne.info

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    Krik Krak
    844 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY
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