Caribbean Eats: Find The Best Island Food Here In Queens

BY TRONE DOWD

Queens, known for its diversity and variety of cultures and languages has one of the most eccentric selection of places to dine. Name any country from around the world and Queens is bound to offer the culinary stylings unique to that corner of the earth.

The Caribbean is no exception to the rule. Whether you’re going for the Hispanic taste of the Dominican Republic or the French inspired plates of Haiti or the flurry of spices and herbs used in countries like Trinidad and Guyana, the borough of Queens has got you covered.

18-CARIBBEAN-PanashPa-Nash Eurosoul
Restaurant and Lounge

144-14 243rd St, Rosedale
(718) 978-6094

For those of you looking for something with a little flair added to the traditional foods of the Caribbean, look no further than Pa-Nash in Rosedale. Pa-Nash, which opened in 2013, serves what restaurant owner Annette Runcie calls Euro-Soul cuisine. The purpose of the European influence on such iconic dishes as curry or honey glazed wings or even curried meats? Creating healthier, more organic versions of Caribbean eats.

“There’s a fusion of Mediterranean and Caribbean soul food to deliver something healthy and uplifting,” Runcie said. “The intent is to create something unique and interesting.”

Runcie, who comes from the Caribbean herself, says that it was something she always thought she could pull off.

“I’ve always liked the healthy part of the Mediterranean stuff which is how the fusion came about.”

The food at Pa-Nash is not only unique and unlike anything else in Queens, all of their dishes, from appetizers to desserts, are to die for. In fact, Pa-Nash was featured in Long Island Pulse Magazine’s “18 Things to Eat Right Now” for their Fig Glazed Wings. The wings, cooked to perfection, are glazed in a flavorful yet not too sweet sauce that will have you wanting to lick your plate clean.

Their curry shrimp, infused with actual mango slices and onions served with rice and peas is equally delicious with the spice of the curry fusing just right with the sweet and sour taste of the fruit. They also offer more traditional American style dishes such as rib-eye steak, cooked to your liking served with your choice of side including mac and cheese or creamy mashed potatoes. Pa-Nash’s most popular dishes, the Pistachio Custard lamb chops and the Coconut and Almond Custard Salmon, will make you want to revisit this restaurant.

On the dessert menu, Pa-Nash offers a small but top-notch selection of plates, including their coconut red velvet cake served with fresh vanilla ice cream.

Top that off with a decor that oozes that special upscale Manhattan vibe complete with a full stocked bar, you’ll soon realize that Pa-Nash has the recipe of a restaurant you won’t soon forget.

Pa-Nash Eurosoul and Restaurant and Lounge is open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wed-Thurs, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fri-Sat and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. They are closed Monday and Tuesday.

20-CARRIBBEAN-RotiSingh’s Roti Shop and Bar
131-18 Liberty Ave,
South Richmond Hill
(718) 323-5990

If you’re looking for more traditional Caribbean taste, look no further than the world famous Singh’s Roti Shop and Bar. This West Indian establishment offers a variety of authentic Caribbean dishes and has long been a staple of the “Little Guyana” community.

“Singh’s opened around 25 years ago,” junior manager Shivani Harryginsingh said. “It started as a small business on 134th Street.”

After moving in 2000, those humble beginnings have lead to Singh’s becoming synonymous with all varieties of Caribbean food for breakfast lunch and dinner. From Caribbean style Chinese food to Trinidadian and Guyanese rotis to Mexican and Hispanic influenced dishes, Singh’s is one of the best ways to experience dishes from West Indian countries shy of buying yourself a plane ticket south.

“The doubles and the roti have made us very popular,” restaurant manager Adesh Harryginsingh. “And everything is so cheap!”

He isn’t lying either. This reporter was able to buy a beef roti wrap complete with potatoes and pepper sauce for the affordable price of $7, almost $3 cheaper than most other places in New York City.

“Our roti’s are bigger and everything is freshly made,” Adesh said. “Everything is popular in here.”

In fact, fresh food is one of the main things Singh’s prides itself on. Everything is homemade, including the pastries and even sodas. According to Shivani, employees at Singh’s make food all day starting before their 5:30 a.m. open time.

“The food kind of sells out to be honest,” Shivani said. “So we always have to be cooking. Curry, stew chicken, duck, everything.”

“When we close here at 10 o’clock today, we start cooking again at 3 o’clock in the morning for breakfast,” Adesh said. “By the time we open at 5:30, everything is ready and from there it’s non-stop cooking.”

They have also gone about creating a few of their own spins on certain dishes.

“We do something called curry stew chicken, our mix of curried and stewed dishes,” Shivani said. “They just try to change it up a little bit every now and then. We bring it out once and people come back and want to buy it again.”

Their latest creation? Pumpkin bake, with is the traditional bread dish usually served with saltfish, cheese or whatever else, infused with the ever popular pumpkin spice.

Singh’s also is a spot where many go to enjoy entertainment. On Saturday nights, Singh’s usually hosts a live show or a deejay for people to sit back and enjoy while they indulge in the restaurant’s fully stocked bar.

“The live performances are free to,” Shivani said. “And it gets crowded too, especially in the summer time.”

Dessert also makes big business for Singh’s. From paymee to currants rolls, these flakey pastries ensure you’ll be coming back for more.

Singh’s Roti Shop and Bar is open from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday, 5:30 to 2 a.m. on Saturdays, 5:30 to midnight on Sunday’s and from 6 a.m. to midnight on weekdays.

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