The fried chicken. Trust me on this. Order the fried chicken. Or at least be sure that someone at your table does, so that you can swipe a piece from their plate when they’re not looking.
Yes, I could extol the virtues of the Jerk Duck, paired deliciously with fig. Or the shrimp and grits, enhanced with the surprising and winning addition of whole fried sage leaves. I could talk about the excellent desserts, most especially the ginger creme brulee. For that matter, I could say nice things about everything our party of six tried from the Caribbean-Southern menu.
Beyond the food, I could praise the wonderful hosts and owners, Alvin and Gwen Clayton, who greet every guest like a good friend and whose popularity in the New Rochelle community has had the restaurant doing a brisk business in its opening weeks, based almost entirely on word of mouth. And I could describe the lovely room — warm and light, filled with Alvin’s original artwork, and hardly recognizable from its previous incarnation as Villarina’s.
But it’s that chicken. Perfectly crispy. Perfectly salted. Perfectly moist. Perfectly matched with macaroni & cheese and collard greens. The best fried chicken I have ever had and almost enough to end my period of mourning for Poultry Time. The only bad thing I can say is that Catie ordered it, instead of me, which blended a bit of envy into the evening’s pleasure.
Go. Go now.