Walking into The Door, the brand new restaurant in Rochdale Village, is an experience in elegance from start to finish.
Greeted by a professionally attired wait staff, diners are immediately escorted into the elegant, elevated dining room or to a large circular booth on the main level. Either way, you can’t lose.
Soft reggae music emanates from a small stereo system and the tables are covered in beige linen to contrast the burgundy seat cushions.
Each table boasts a small arrangement of fresh flowers and a candle and silver flatware gleam under the soft lighting.
The aesthetic appeal was only a foreshadowing of the meal to come.
Douglas, my server, was pleasant and helpful, offering to take my coat and asking if I wanted tea, water or fruit punch.
I opted for the hot tea while I waited for a large garden salad which, he told me “comes with the meal.”
From the leather bound menu featuring curried goat, ox tails and a variety of chicken and fish entrees, I selected the “brown stewed fish.”
Seasoned to perfection, the fish – a large snapper – was fried to a perfect brown color then covered and steamed with carrot, onion, pimento seeds and other spices.
Served in an elongated bowl with rice and peas, baby carrots and broccoli cooked perfectly al dente on a platter, it was a treat for the eye as much as the palate. I was also encouraged to try the fruit punch.
Made in-house from fresh carrots, mango, strawberry, pineapple and a pinch of ginger, it was like going back to the islands on this cold day.
Asked how this new restaurant came about, Christopher Roberts, one of three co-owners, explained that he saw the need for a more upscale restaurant in the area.
But the Price-Waterhouse CPA did a survey of over 200 friends and acquaintances asking, “do we need another West Indian restaurant” in Queens.
“The answer,” said Roberts, “was a resounding ‘no’!” The next question was “do we need an upscale West Indian restaurant” and this time the answer was a resounding “yes!”
Along with co-investors Joan Lewis, an investment accounting analyst and Myrtle Fulcott, Robert’s mother and a former dining room manager for Time Warner, Roberts decided that the location of the old restaurant formerly known as “The Village Door” was the perfect spot for their new venture.
The location is great but the authentic taste and the service are also good indicators of how this new restaurant will do in the long run.
Their prices are great too, ranging from $6 to $10.50 for an entree and dessert. If you have room, desserts range from $2 to $3. Go through The Door and come out feeling full and relaxed.