Taste a Vegetarian Side of the Caribbean at Gloria's Caribbean Cuisine
The Veggielante is on a mission to spread the word about places to order good, meatless grub. Check out this week's pick.
Potato and channa roti at Gloria's | Tara Mahadevan
Destination: Gloria's Caribbean Cuisine (764 Nostrand Avenue; 718-773-3476)
Neighborhood: Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Overview: Gloria's Caribbean Cuisine is located in the heart of NYC's most vibrant Caribbean neighborhood, Crown Heights, and it sits right at the corner of Nostrand Avenue and Sterling Place. The place has only a few tall tables and chairs, and food is served in paper bags and plastic containers with plastic utensils. Gloria's doesn't have a website, but it doesn't need one: The restaurant's reputation proceeds it, and the line for this joint is always long -- on our last visit, it was out the door.
Highlights: Many of Caribbean food's more famous dishes are also meat-heavy: Jerked and curried meats prevail. But you'll find a number of meat-free options at this restaurant, and many are based on roti, traditionally an Indian bread, though it is widely used in Southern Caribbean dishes, specifically Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, and Fiji, which all have large populations of Indians.
Gloria's potato and channa roti ($5.50) is a fairly straightforward dish -- curried potato and channa stuffed into a roti -- but its simplicity is what makes it so good: Rather than a jumble of tastes, you get the spiciness of the curry and the play of textures between the the soft, baked potato, the steamed chick peas, and the doughy texture of the roti. Pair it to a side of fried plantains ($3), whose mild sweetness ideally offsets the heat of the curry.
Fried plantains at Gloria's | Tara Mahadevan
Other vegetarian options here include tofu roti ($6.50), vegetable roti ($6.50), and spinach pie ($3).