The Boston Phoenix
January 13 - 20, 2000

[Food Reviews]

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Café Creole

The goats that haunt me

by Jessika Bella Mura

Twin televisions blare Caribbean music videos in what could almost be someone's tidy living room, complete with holdover Christmas tree and reproduction fruit-bowl art. As with the décor, there's nothing tricked up about Café Creole's home-style Haitian cuisine, which emphasizes unadorned, deeply flavored meat dishes.

Goat, that Caribbean staple, is the standout here, stewed to a pleasing chewiness with carrots in a light tomato-y broth (cabrit lakay, $7.99). This is not a meat for those who think lamb tastes too strong. Treated similarly, though it's a mite spicier, is the conch (lambi des caraibes, $8.50). Taking another tack are the tasso preparations ($7.99) -- firm, lean chunks of heavily seasoned beef or goat served intentionally dry and piled on the plate -- as well as the griyo, sizable pieces of deep-fried pork shoulder ($6.99). All entrées come with a basic salad, fried plantains, and some variation on rice and beans. After all that, an array of fruit smoothies ($3.50 each) provides a little dietary levity.

The sometimes bashful service is a tip-off that not many non-Haitians have discovered the place, hard by the rotary in Everett not far from the Charlestown line. But the staff is nothing if not gracious -- go ahead, ask as many questions as you'd like.

Café Creole, located at 88 Main Street, in Everett, is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until midnight, and Sunday from 1 to 9 p.m. Call (617) 394-9900.

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