>> Island Boy Cafรฉ | Eat the World Los Angeles

Wednesday 24 August 2022

Island Boy Cafรฉ

Pico Blvd. facade

๐Ÿ…ฟ️ Street parking with valet available at night.
๐Ÿฅค  Full Bar.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is not a Grenadian restaurant, it has a more pan-Caribbean menu and a full report will be updated when other dishes are tried.

If you have ever lived in the Caribbean or in a place that has access to the cuisines of its many islands but now spend most of your time in Los Angeles, you find yourself in the bowels of search engines and social media posts searching for more. Waiting for the next spot to open as the city slowly expands its scene beyond Jamaican food can seem hopeless, but every once in a while a fun event promising vendors pops up, or better yet a pan-Caribbean restaurant with shrimp imported from the Bahamas and the promise of Grenadian brown stew chicken.

Island Boy Cafรฉ is right underneath Island Girl Spa Bed and Breakfast, both institutions about a year old in a leafy area of Pico Blvd. The chef grew up Trini in Brooklyn but has a grandmother from Sauteurs in the north of Grenada, very small despite being the fourth largest city in the country and known for fishing and the beautiful bay that shares its name.

Colorful interior

The interior is colorful with pastels and almost gives the hint of a sea breeze since every surface has been given lots of love and attention. You can sit at a couple tables outside but this feels less like an island with cars buzzing by on the boulevard. If you come during a weekday afternoon, the restaurant is sleepy but seemingly in a state of preparation.

With a velvet rope and valet stand outside ready to go, it is when the sun sets that things get going at the cafรฉ, with live reggae music every Friday night and plenty of other events the rest of the weekend. It was not the music that was sought out on this day, but rather the promise of a food not yet seen on a restaurant menu in Los Angeles.

Grenadian chicken brown stew

That dish of course is the Grenadian brown stew chicken ($15 for lunch, above and below), a meal as far from Jamaican stew chicken as you can imagine. Another difference is that it is not sitting in a steam table ready for immediate consumption, this dish takes 25 minutes of prep time and if you are getting it for takeout it is a good idea to call in the order ahead of time. Sitting at the bar or in the restaurant is pretty comfortable though, and with a full bar your time can be passed pretty easily if necessary.

What separates the flavors of the Windward Islands, Trinidad, and Guyanese food from that of the Greater Antilles is the use of different spices and plenty of cassareep, a dark sauce made from cassava root. The most forward taste in this delicious brown stew chicken dish is soy sauce, which combines well with onions and garlic, and what seems like a hundred other spices.

Close-up Grenadian chicken brown stew

The chicken is browned with all of these sauces and spices and braised with sugar as well, providing just the right amount of sweetness for that final bite. Chicken must be served bone-in for any stew chicken, and rice is important to soak up all the extra juices that you will not want to miss. Sweet fried plantains are the final addition, just as good eaten in between bites of the chicken or saved until the end for a treat.

For next visits, the menu promises shrimp imported from the Bahamas as mentioned, as well as Trini-style curry, coconut-steamed Guyanese salmon, and a Tobago roast chicken that all sound sublime. Maybe next time will be during a reggae night to enjoy the mood of the place even more.


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