>> Ali's Roti Shop | Eat the World NYC

19 January 2019

Ali's Roti Shop


For many years Ali's Roti Shop has been the kind of place that people head directly from the subway exit on Eastern Parkway before going home. The line is always long but hardly any of the tables are occupied as business is almost exclusively takeout, making it easy to find space and watch the constant ebb and flow of Crown Heights.

If you are a fan of Trini roti shops, you may have come across other purveyors of the same name, but the shops in The Bronx and on Fulton Street in Brooklyn are not affiliated. This location on Utica Avenue has a salesman outside hawking CDs and t-shirts, blasting music for the block and beyond. Opening the door to Ali's lets the music from the interior escape, creating just that cacophony that seems appropriate for the Caribbean, on whose many islands I have never come across one that did not enjoy their music loud and nonstop.

If you read up a bit online about Ali's you will mostly find two accounts: The food is great AND the service is terrible. I usually find comments about service to be vendettas against one-time mishaps, but it is fair to say that some of the ladies behind the counter here are not the friendliest folks. In truth though, I think they just prefer life at a slower pace and the constant eyes on them from hungry patrons is more pressure than desired.

No menu is offered, so this may not be the place to come if you know nothing about southern Caribbean foods, as you might not learn much from asking question. Wait your turn, order what you want, and sit down to enjoy your food. This simple formula makes everyone happy. One man who definitely knew his Trini foods but seemed to ask one too many questions got some serious stink eye.

Tamarind and pepper sauces.

The steam table gives you an idea of what to order, as most everything is uncovered. High turnover means everything is fresh and good, and you are likely to see refills brought in while you are in line.

I went for a plate of curry chicken and white rice (below), which they will also offer red beans with. I have never been able to master the art of eating a filled roti by hand, so I usually ask for an extra piece of bread on the side so that I can tear off pieces and dunk them in the curry to grab hunks of meat and sauce.

The roti here might be the best in the city, stretchy and chewy and not dry at all. There are only a few pieces at a time on the counter and it is always being made fresh. To eat a meal here without some of it would be a crime. If you do not want rice but like your roti on the side, order a buss up shot, which serves the bread already torn up for you.

Also worthy of praise are the fresh doubles (below), a ladle of chickpea curry between two pieces of fried flatbread. Make sure to get those tamarind and pepper sauces from above added in before they wrap it up.

Doubles (always "plural" even when talking about one) are the ultimate Trini street food and almost impossible to eat without making a mess at the same time. Eating one in Brooklyn always brings me back to the doubles crawls on the streets of Port of Spain that were a highlight of my time there.

Ali's Roti Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

1 comment:

  1. This is one of my favorite restaurants in Brooklyn. Bussup is my go to along with a dozen doubles for my bf and I to eat breakfast lunch and dinner for a day or two


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