Harry Singh, the Trinidad native who brought “Trini” home cooking to Minnesota.

text from City Pages review

At a time when anything that came without a side of mashed potatoes was called ethnic food, Harry Singh opened the first of his four restaurants on Central Ave.

He has now opened his latest restaurant on "Eat Street," at 2653 Nicollet Ave. S., in Minneapolis, in a cheerful, sunny space decorated with a mural that charmingly runs together the Minneapolis night skyline and Minnesota sun-drenched countryside, complete with bunnies.

Harry Singh’s Original Caribbean Restaurant specializes in Caribbean comfort foods: roasty, long-cooked comfort foods that, Caribbean though they be, bear a family resemblance to any Midwestern grandma's best pot roast, because of their all-day-on-the-stove essence. Come in and try the signature dish Curry Chicken Roti with deeply caramelized, stewed chicken or the tender carrots and cabbage that cling to okra and chicken in the mellow ladles of Callaloo, or the memorably tender and gamy lamb curry Roti.

Roti, of course, are what Harry Singh is most famous for, and more specifically roti dhalpourie, which is what you get when you take a roti and fill it with a curry stew. These roti are miraculous things, they are flatbreads as big around as a large pizza but as thin as two crepes, as tender as a pancake, and filled from stem to stern with a special hand-ground blend of lentil like peas and toasty spices. Harry makes each of these by hand, to order, on a big heavy iron griddle he brought here from Trinidad.

There are about a dozen curries to have inside your roti: The potato-chickpea one is full of toasty cardamom seeds and has a biscuity, savory, warm, mustard-tinged loveliness to it. The plain vegetable roti is full of crisp cabbage, resilient pigeon peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, tomatoes, chunks of carrots, and much more. The curry beef is deep and resonant, full of well-mellowed meat; it's rib-sticking and good.

Vegetarian and vegan diners: There is plenty of food for you here.)

Have your roti along with one of Harry's homemade Caribbean drinks ($2.50), and you will be living the good, simple life, island-style. These nonalcoholic punches are uniformly fun. The mauby is unforgettable; it's basically a Caribbean version of sarsaparilla, all sweet, licorice like, perkily spicy, and palate cleansing. The sour sop is good too; it's made from a sweet, tart fruit and tastes like lemonade, but a little more funky and tropical. Then there's the mango, which tastes like the fruit in question, and is a kids' favorite, as well as homemade ginger beer, a spicy, un carbonated, sweet, and tummy-soothing concoction.

What to Order: roti dhalpourie with lamb curry or potatoes and chick peas; jerk chicken.

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