Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sit and Relax Awhile in Caribbean Style; Beignets Offers Something Different

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sit and Relax Awhile in Caribbean Style; Beignets Offers Something Different

Article excerpt

Byline: ERICA BURKS

Sometimes televisions in a restaurant can be a good thing. Example: The kids had been out of school for a couple of days recently, and it rained the entire time. So, by the time dinner arrived, I just wanted a bit of peace and quiet.

That's why, when we walked into Beignets Caribbean Cafe on Barnes Road, I did a little dance of joy. There, dominating an entire corner of a smallish room, was an enormous TV. I put my two youngest kids in front of that TV so fast their little feet barely had time to touch the ground. Since the two older boys rarely converse beyond grunts and maybe a sullen stare or two, hubby and I saw the potential for a relaxing night.

It certainly was quiet. On a Tuesday, we were on the only diners in the place but even then, service was a bit sketchy. The young woman who waited on us spoke limited English, and the male employee saved his energies for customers ordering takeout. Everyone was speaking in a lilting patois, which they later confirmed was one of the many dialects of Haiti.

Beignets is at one end of small strip mall off Barnes Road and University Boulevard. It has changed hands and menus a few times, but the current owners have stuck to Caribbean-style food for the past four years.

The restaurant is decorated in a hodgepodge of crafts and posters with one wall dominated by a huge yellow sunset. The windows are hung with cheery curtains, and all of the tables are covered in plastic cloth. It's simple and clean with lots of room between the tables.

Curry seems to be the house favorite at Beignets. We settled on the Curry Chicken ($6.95). Several pieces of dark meat chicken are seared and then cooked in a yellow curry-flavored broth with onions and carrots. The chicken was tender and delicious and the mound of yellow rice and plantains on the side made for a filling meal.

An even better option was the Jerk Chicken ($6.95). This was the kind of chicken you find at every little beach hut in the Caribbean. Jerk seasoning in the islands is not the dry, spicy sprinkle-on-top seasonings you see in the States. Good jerk is smoky and sweet, and is often flavored with cola, of all things. …

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