Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Miss Lily's Variety - Hard to Reach but Attained Goodness
Ever since last week, I've been trying to eat at Miss Lily's, the funky Jamaican inspired cafe in the West Village. My cousin Vicky and I unluckily missed our 6 p.m. reservation, only to find the place backed up and the staff showing their prickly disposition. This of course made me that much more curious, and I returned to Miss Lily's Variety & Melvin's Juice Box outpost later that week. I'm happy to say that it more than delivered and was worth the come-back.
The bright, cheery, casual vibe of Miss Lily's is almost as big of a draw as its food. Looking like a Caribbean style shack amped up to NYC standards, Miss Lily's transports you to a laid back, tropical place without having to leave our busy island. My favorite aspect of the cafe are the comfy vinyl booths that sport a green, yellow and red stripe across the top, and the old vinyl record covers on the walls that pay an homage to legendary Jamaican artists.
A lovely display of Miss Lily's famous chicken, beef and veg patties decks the front counter and cooking space, along with a pretty display of their layer cakes and pastries. The fresh and packaged juices also create some eye candy, making Lily's just as conducive for taking out as dining in.
Confronted by a bevy of interesting West Indian foods such as jerk chicken, oxtail, roti, salads, and of course their patties, my friend Angela and I just skimmed the surface of Jamaican goodness. We'll certainly be back for more.
Curry Chicken Roti - Resembling a burrito, a roti is an unleavened wrap made from wholemeal flour, and it's absolutely delicious. Stuffed with chicken curry and flavored with spices such as cumin, it was hearty and comforting with a bit of pop in flavor and freshness from the julianned jicama and carrots on top.
Oxtail - My friend Angela was craving oxtail and immediately ordered this when she spotted it on the menu. I had the chance to try it and enjoyed the chocolate brown sauce, laced with chunks of carrots. The meat itself was falling off the bone and was literally finger lickin' good. Yes, this dish gets messy so get some extra napkins.
Sweet and Dandy Juice - Not getting a Melvin's organic juice would be a crime, so we went for this bright concoction of apples, beets, lemon, ginger, carrots and pineapple. The ginger was most distinct but the crimson beets also dominated in color and flavor. Angela and I split this one, as it's quite filling but also on the expensive side.
Service and Cost:
Unlike my previous attempt at Miss Lily's just earlier that week, the staff at the Cafe and Melvin's Juice bar were as bright and cheery as the scenery. One of the cooks was even joking around with us saying that I can't take photos, but followed his comment with a big generous smile.
We sat down after ordering and were pleasantly surprised to get our dishes just 5 short minutes later, which was awesome.
Prices are in the moderate price range with most rotis and salads being in the $10 ballpark, while the Jamaican specialties run anywhere between $10-$17.
Miss Lily's Variety & Melvin's Juice Bar - 132 West Houston Street, New York NY 10012
A/C/E Train to West 4th Street