On the Upper West Side at 844 Amsterdam Ave., tiny unassuming Krik Krak Haitan Restaurant serves authentic dishes straight from the island. First off, I bet you’re wondering about the name. In Haitian Creole, Krik means “would you like to hear a story?” and Krak means “yes!” The story at Krik Krak is French-accented Haitian cuisine, a hybrid of Spanish, Jamaican, and African cooking. For starters, I urge you to get “kraking” with some Akra de Malanga, dumplings deep fried to a thick crunchy golden brown served with a spicy dipping salsa. Next dive into their Griot, crisp fried chunks of pork (similar in appearance to oxtail); Bouillon Haitien, a vegetable consomme of beef and crab; or Lambi Creole, diced conch bubbling in a spicy sauce.
Look out for their weekly menu offerings like okra stew (Monday), string- and lima-bean stew (Tuesday), and Legumes Choux, a stew consisting of tender cabbage and flaky codfish (Friday).All entrees include a side salad, rice and beans, and delicately fried or boiled plantains. This place is BYOB but I recommend going for the full island experience pairing your meal with one of their fresh natural fruit juices, especially the passion fruit. Walls lined with brightly colored indigenous paintings, an unpretentious and laid back atmosphere, and friendly service creates an oasis far away from the hustle and rushed service of Manhattan’s dining tourist circuit.