>> Cafe Metro | Eat the World NYC

14 October 2018

Cafe Metro


This interesting section of Teaneck that Google Maps calls "West Englewood" gave me more questions than answers. A small hub of businesses that acts like a sleepy miniature downtown is full of Kosher restaurants of all varieties, but also has your normal New Jersey entries like a bar & grill and a gas station. On one main corner sits Cafe Metro, which advertises itself as a "Caribbean American Restaurant."

There are quite a few Caribbeans in Teaneck, but as I looked outside the window during my meal here, the only foot traffic was coming to and from a Jewish books and Judaica store. I was also the only patron inside the restaurant during the entire span of time, making sure I had the full attention of the friendly woman in charge who hailed from Antigua.

"What do you know about ducana?" she asked me as I put in my order for the Friday through Sunday only item.

After convincing her I knew what I was doing, we talked drinks and she offered to mix her homemade fruit punch and ginger beer ($3, below), saying many people did this to cut the spiciness of the fresh ginger. As I watched, it seemed her rationing was about two thirds fruit punch, which is good since it was still quite spicy! An interesting idea I never thought about, but only possible because she makes large batches instead of small bottles and can do the mixing.

They have some standard pan-Caribbean entrees and lunch specials the rest of the week, but to truly experience her Antiguan fare, the Friday-Sunday menu is the reason to come. The rest (and bulk) of the menu is made up of a mixture of breakfast, burgers, and southern cooking to cast a wider net and stay in business.

As is often the case back home, ducana ($13, below) is served with saltfish and chop-up, which she just calls "eggplant" on the menu. Ducana can also be eaten alone, but as a meal these dumplings made from primarily sweet potato want to be paired with salty flavors. The sweetness is intensified by coconut milk and sugar and spiced with cinnamon or possibly nutmeg. This flavor combination was completely new to my tongue, and grew on me the further I went into the meal.

These boiled dumplings are not completely exclusive to Antigua but are most commonly associated with the island more than any other place. It is a treat to come here and experience them. Unfortunately this lunch was a solitary occasion and I could not try the other items on the weekend menu like fungi, something like grits but made with cornmeal and okra, or the curry conch.

Cafe Metro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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