It’s not too often that we get downtown, but when we do, Veronica’s Kitchen is usually near the top of our list. If it’s a Friday, even better. That means fish!
We went there on Friday, and while it took us a while to get lunch, it was ultimately worth the wait.
Veronica’s Kitchen had several kinds of seafood available, including fried whiting, steamed king fish, shrimp curry, bake & codfish, shrimp roti and either fried or steamed red snapper. We got steamed red snapper, and it cost $10, and came with 2 side dishes.
When we say it took us a while to get lunch, we’re not kidding. It was a good 10 minutes on line before ordering, then about another 15 minutes for the fish to cook all the way through. They wanted to be sure before serving it.
Steaming always takes longer than frying, but the food generally comes out with more of its original flavors. It’s healthier too, although if that was a major consideration, we wouldn’t be eating street food for lunch every day.
Veronica’s Kitchen is Caribbean in background (Jamaican we believe). The thing about Caribbean cooking is most dishes are served as nature intended, meaning on the bone. You generally won’t find fillets unless you’re on a resort.
With that in mind, we opened the container and were confronted with an entire red snapper, from head to tail.
It took us a couple of minutes to get our bearings and figure out the best way to attack this dish without getting bones. Once we did, it was fairly easy, and there was plenty of meat on the thick bones.
After eating the meat on one side of the fish, it was a simple operation to remove the major bone and finish off the fish. All of this was done sitting on a bench on the street, not at our desk.
The steamed fish was quite moist and flavorful, with a few onions and other seasonings, but not many. This was mostly steamed fish, at least until we got to the side dishes.
Veronica’s has excellent side dishes, and one of our favorites is candied yams. They’re on the sweet side, but that’s what “candied” means. The yams could almost be served as a dessert.
Rice and peas is not exactly what it sounds like. Rice was rice, but peas were actually beans. We probably would have preferred the yellow rice, but that’s a minor quibble.
Veronica’s Kitchen is out for lunch every weekday in the Financial District on Water St by Pine St. It’s a pretty well known lunch spot, with trucks often parked there too. On Friday, it was the Old Traditional Polish Cuisine truck.
Veronica’s Kitchen doesn’t tweet or have a website, but they are very well known in the street food world. During the summer, they have a food stand on Governor’s Island, and back in 2007, they were a Vendy Award Finalist.
If you want seafood, but don’t want to mess around with the bones, the next dish on our list to try is curry shrimp. Not sure when we’ll get downtown again for lunch, but it should be soon enough.