Suede was one of those places that have been on my radar for quite some time – actually since it’s initial opening in November of 2014. A few months ago during one of my evening wanderings for a place to dine – I decided why not. I sat at the bar with the intent of mingling a bit. The bartender handed me a menu and I ordered a glass of Pinot Noir. I sipped my wine as I studied the menu and chatted with whoever sat beside me (you can really get a feel for the place by chatting it up with strangers especially the ones who visited before).
Suede describes their menu as “Modern Caribbean Cuisine” and I was eager to indulge. “An Extension of the Caribbean Lifestyle” (nice choice of words don’t you think) I think so – I stole it from their website :D. It was one of those days where I wished I had company, there were so many yummy choices and let’s face it there’s only so much a foodie can eat at one seating. I decided on the Treasure Island Sampler($24) which included delicious bites of codfish fritters, mango BBQ wings, jerk shrimp and sweet corn. While the food was tasty, I didn’t like the presentation and I’m not a fan of cold food unless it supposes to be served that way.
I nibbled, chatted and ordered the braised oxtail($21), curry goat($20) and the jerk splashed salmon($22) to go with the intent of writing about my experience at Suede. Needless to say, I never wrote about my visit because I wasn’t impressed with the food and I wanted to give Suede another try to see if my experience would be different.
Fast forward to September 6th, in an attempt to salvage our date night that we’ve blown off for the last four months – hubby and I decided dinner was a fabulous idea. As we slowly got dressed I suggested we invite my sister in law, only to find out that she had reservations with friends at Suede and suggested we join her. I was excited, FINALLY able to experience Suede again.
Suede is located in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn, an area where many of us may not venture – we are often eager to go downtown Brooklyn to dine and often miss the diamond in the rough. Brooklyn is filled with Caribbean restaurants after all Caribbean people are a large part of Brooklyn’s population and while many offer delectable dishes, most are set up as taking out spots. Located on a strip that comprises mostly residential properties and sitting opposite to a tire shop don’t be discouraged because you’ll be in a different place in just a few seconds :).
Upon your initial entry into the restaurant, you’ll be amazed at the ambiance which I’d like described as Modern Natural with a Rustic twist. The rich brown decor gives you an intimate calm feeling of warmth and peace – while I’m not a fan of combining brown and black – in this space, I find the combination very complimenting. The bar area is quite large and the bar staff is very attentive. The outdoor dining area takes you to a Tropical Island getaway with a combination of soft tunes from a variety of genres.
Jamaican born, Chef Kemis Lawrence has crafted a menu which can be described as a new twist to Caribbean cuisine – his modern take on traditional dishes are not lacking in flavor or Caribbean ingredients (I taste the scotch bonnet pepper but it adds flavor not heat :). Instead of a bread basket, you can nibble on plantain chips and salsa while you sip a delicious cocktail – there’s nothing like a great food menu with a complementing cocktail menu. Suede’s vision is to be the first to offer Modern Caribbean Cuisine in Brooklyn and that’s certainly reflected in their menu.
I started with a cocktail “Coconut Martini” ($10) very delicious but a bit too creamy from me. This time around I ordered the salmon crab-cakes ($11) and the Treasure Island sampler ($24 )- while I still wasn’t impressed with the presentation of the Treasure Island sampler, it was perfectly spiced and delicious and the salmon crab-cake (oh I’m definitely having those again). For dinner, everyone decided to order something different that way we could all sample the diversity of the menu. We ordered Curry Jumbo shrimp ($24) (just a tab bit more curry powder and it would have been perfect), Curry chicken($16) (Loved that it was boneless chicken), Creole Pasta w/Oxtail($22), Steamed Branzino Fish($25), Coconut Snapper($22), Jerked Splashed Salmon($22), Mac and Cheese($8) and Sweet Plantains($4). The intoxicating smell and combined taste of sweet, heat and traditional West Indian ingredients made me appreciate the fact that I’m always willing to give a restaurant a second and third try before I gather a conclusion about my experience (there are rare cases of course where a second or third tries wouldn’t be considered).
I believe what makes a restaurant is an overall pleasing experience and that is a combination of Excellent customer service, Great food, and the ambiance. Own by St Lucian born Celia Belyn I would say Suede is halfway there – the service is definitely lacking. I don’t want to wait 10 to 15 minutes for utensils because my food will be cold and that could really piss someone off (especially me) and I don’t think my friend should wait 15 minutes for a bowl of rice that comes with her entrée especially when she asked for it way too many times and I’m definitely not impressed with a server who responds “well I don’t eat seafood” when asked how about the Hellshire style fish and chips. No, my dear a simple “I’ve never had it however our guests seems to really enjoy it” would not only suffice but would certainly be pleasing to the ear of the patrons.
I will definitely visit Suede again and certainly recommend it to others (not because a nice gentleman came after us and gave us all %off discount cards) but because I believe with a few tweaks this could be the place that you make your regular dining spot. Not because everyone you know comes here and it’s kinda cool but because the Food is delicious and tasty and the service? Remarkable!
You should try Suede and let me know what you think – not because I say you should but because the menu is great, I heard the Brunch is Fabulous and you eat for FREE on your birthday (with prior reservation). What better reasons?
Images and menu details via Suede NYC
5610 Clarendon Road at East 56th Street
Brooklyn NY 11203
Monday – Thursday: Open at 5 PM – 2 AM
Friday: Open 3 PM
Saturday & Sunday: 11AM – 4PM (Brunch)
Kitchen Closes 2 AM Friday & Saturday | Bar Closes 3 AM
Happiest Hour Daily 25% off your drinks from 4 to 7 PM in the bar area.
Suede Steal $25 for $50 worth of food and drinks