Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Strictly Roots

Strictly Roots - 2058 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd, NYC (Ital/West Indian)
Yes, Virginia, there is Ital in Harlem - located close to the 125th street subway (just around the corner from the Apollo.)

A small, comfortable shop, Strictly Roots specializes in Rastafarian cuisine - with hot dishes their specialty. Options include steamed veggies, fried plantains, rice, beans, and faux meat entrees...not to mention a host of sandwiches, soups, pastries and fresh juice blends. The service is good and meals affordable (four or so options costs $8.00 a plate, available for takeout or eat-in.)

Mildly flavored, the dishes are unlikely to impress a hardcore spicer - but they have character nonetheless, and even a degree of flair. Especially the meat options, which look disturbingly real - from the stringy, well textured "lamb curry" to the fish dish - complete with a thin, black "skin" still attached. And as for the pastries...give them a try. Options range from apple pie to coconut cake (a sweet, crumbly cake that proved the highlight of my meal.)

Is it worth a second trip? Not for me - but then, I thrill on Malaysian, Thai and Vietnamese - my tastebuds demand more. But subtle can be nice, as well. If Strictly Roots were in my neighborhood, it would be a semi-regular haunt.

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