Words by Eddie STATS Houghton and Jason “J-Rockaz” Orford
As we mentioned in our recent Limonious post, we have been haunting Miss Lily’s quite a bit lately. If you’re not hip to it yet, that’s downtown New York’s choicest new eatery, a little planetarium of authentic Jamaican roots transplanted onto West Houston Street. The bona fide vibes should be no surprise since the evil geniuses behind it include Paul Salmon of the Rockhouse Hotel in Negril and designer Serge Becker. (Becker in particular is well-known for elevating spots like this to immersive experiences on the level of fine art but less-known is the fact that he’s a connoisseur of Jamaican music, and a key figure in the legendary downtown NY reggae party Sticky Mike’s.)
It may be because we’re posted up there every other night or because LargeUp contributor J-Rockaz had the ins before the doors were even open. But either way Miss Lily herself gave us the forward to post the menu first in a LU exclusive (check it after the jump.) The cocktail wines named after dancehall classics (“Tempted to Touch”; the Jamaican shandy “Ting A Ling,“) speak volumes but, self-explanatory as the menu is, it can’t tell you about the perfectly subtle-sweet taste of the festival bread, the Pickapeppa sauce on every table, the ital option of the Bushman Bowl, the decor in the backroom that’s a selector’s dream, or the general upful feel of the place which will have you bubbling to the artfully curated music as you eat.
Perhaps even more important then the texture of all the exactly-right details is the larger vision of the place, a refreshing Caribbean breeze in a Manhattan scene which is in danger of becoming eurocentric, homogenous and in short, too stush. The ripples that will inevitably result from the attention paid to West Indian culture by such an influential personage as Serge gives us hope for the whole island. After all, a knife and a fork, a bokkle an’ a cork–that’s still the way we spell New York.