FINALLY! I’ve lived in Brooklyn for a year and a half and I finally made it to the popular West Indian restaurant that all of my friends have been raving about – Sugarcane. Sugarcane (http://www.sugarcanerestaurant.com/default.aspx?pageId=1) is located near downtown BK, at 238 Flatbush Avenue (easily accessible via the 2 or 3 train).
Luckily for me my dining companion arrived about 15 minutes before I did and added our names to the wait list (thus shortening my wait time). While Sugarcane does take reservations (I believe they have a cut off time on weekends – if they’re not made by the early afternoon for that day you will not be able to make reservations), we didn’t have any and decided to wing it. We waited next door (at the bar) at a rustic style restaurant called Woodland (http://www.woodlandnyc.com/ – note to self, try Woodland’s cuisine soon) until our table was ready.
Upon entrance the first thing that I noticed was the LOUD level of music. I felt like I’d walked into a nightclub, not a restaurant -definitely not a plus. After adjusting to the sound of the music (hip hop) I took in the ambiance of the establishment. Bright reds and silvers were all around me – very modern looking.
Our pleasant hostess sat us directly opposite the bar at a bar height table and accompanying stools, then told us that our waitress would be with us momentarily. I guess “momentarily” is relative because we waited for almost 10 minutes before a waitress came to our table to take our order. I can’t say that I was pleased with this, but it was worth the wait when the waitress arrived with a super bubbly personality, warm smile, and humble apologies. Apparently the waitresses were changing shifts and things were a bit hectic in the restaurant.
My first cocktail was a raspberry mojito (forgot to take a pic). I found it to be TOO sweet, but subtly potent. The cocktail was more enjoyable towards the end as the ice melted. My appetizer was pretty good. I ordered the fried shrimp in a light spicy batter with fried plantains (I opted for the plantains – the appetizer comes with this or shoestring french fries) and mango jelly. I found the jelly to be a bit on the sweet side, with a weird aftertaste and the plantains to not be fresh. On a scale from 1 – 10 I’d give this dish a 5. I finished the shrimp. but didn’t finish the plantains as I didn’t really care for them. If I were you I’d try the shoestring fries as an option if you order this starter.
Next up, the entrees. LAWD, talk about REDEMPTION! I ordered the braised oxtails with macaroni pie (sidebar, the minute I saw “macaroni pie” on the menu I knew that I was in a Trinidadian establishment – HOLLA #TriniToDiBone. Only Trinis say macaroni pie), and sauteed cabbage and carrots. My meal was SUPERB. Look at the portion, needless to say I was unable to finish this all in one sitting. It was too much – and not in a bad way!
The oxtails were tender as hell and very well seasoned, the vegetables were light and buttery, and the macaroni pie was not too cheesy. It was seasoned (I hate macaroni & cheese that consists of macaroni noodles, cheese and no seasoning – serious let down) and very filling. On a scale from 1 – 10 I give my meal a 10!
My dining companion opted for the seafood dish – Grilled BBQ Jerk Salmon with Peas & Rice, and Plantains. I tasted the salmon and thought the BBQ sauce was overkill, it kind of washed out the jerk seasoning of the fish. Speaking of fish, the salmon was grilled magnificently – it was juicy and very tasty. I didn’t try the plantains because I had enough of them with my appetizers. The rice looked good, but I passed as I wasn’t in the mood to try it. My companion loved it though!
Mid-way through my meal I realized they turned the music up and the genre changed. Hip-Hop no longer flowed from the speakers, we were now jammin’ to Lovers’ Rock, Dancehall, and Conscious Reggae AND Soca. This West Indian girl was in heaven! I found myself using my Shazam & Soundhound apps often because the music was on! I wish the music was softer so I didn’t have to damn near scream when I conversed, but it was all good – the food made up for it.
I was WAY too full to order dessert, so I opted to cap off my meal with a second and final cocktail – a mango daiquiri. It was DELICIOUS and sneaky. About halfway through the drink I peeped my buzz. Well done Sugarcane, well done. The bartenders are very skilled at their mixology. Speaking of bartenders – they were good looking. Come to think of it the entire staff was attractive – including the waitstaff.
Before leaving the restaurant I took a trip to the little girl’s room – which was located downstairs. Ladies be prepared, for the wait. There women’s room has two stalls and only one with a door (weird right? One bathroom door, one enclosed stall, and one exposed stall – I don’t get the point). Since I didn’t feel like waiting, I did what any civilized woman would do who had to use the restroom – I went to the men’s restroom. Why not? No line and it was clean (keep this in mind when you visit).
All and all I give my overall experience with Sugarcane an 8. Decent appetizer, great drinks, great entrees, and great service (when it finally started). They had points taken away for the initial wait for service and for the loud music.
Until Next Time Friends!