Image by Unlisted Sightings via Flickr
After nearly 20 years of running one of the best Jamaican restaurants in North Jersey, Parlet McLeod has bowed out and leased the Hackensack business to another operator. She also has stopped baking her wedding cakes, which contained fruit soaked in Jamaican overprooof rum for three months.
Not far away from the former Mac West Indian Restaurant on Central Avenue, a new Trinidadian restaurant has opened in what was once the home of Laurel Restaurant, but the new owner's awning and sign are not up yet. I went searching for Kaskadoo on Saturday morning, but didn't have the address, and my hunger pangs drove me to eat breakfast at what is now Maxx Caribbean Cuisine.
I sat at the counter of Maxx and ordered cabbage and salt fish, with boiled green banana and fried dumplings, and the woman who served me gave me the news about McLeod, who was known to one and all in the Jamaican community as Miss Mac. She opened Mac West Indian in 1991 and operated it with her son Junior, leasing it out in January. My breakfast was $7 with two cups of coffee and tax.
On the way home, I stopped at Laurel Restaurant to pick up a menu and discovered that it was now Kaskadoo (named for a fish). I returned for dinner with my wife. We had a large stewed king-fish dinner ($12) and a shrimp roti ($8) with side dishes, but the food was served warm, not hot, after a long delay.
The food in Trinidad, as in Jamaica, is influenced by the many Asian Indians who have lived there, so my wife's side dishes included chickpeas and potato with a hint of curry. Roti is an unleavened bread or pancake with various fillings, such as shrimp, vegetables and so forth, but Kaskadoo serves its roti deconstructed.
My side dishes were spinach rice, macaroni pie and stewed pumpkin.
Kaskadoo's menu lists intriguing items, including a breakfast bake 'n shark, an entree of pelau and a side dish called bodhi, so more exploration might be in order. I just wish the service was faster and the food hotter.
Maxx Caribbean Cuisine, 207 Central Ave., Hackensack;
Kaskadoo Trinidadian Cuisine, 189 Central Ave.,
(Photo: A mouth-watering restaurant sign.)