I will always remember the smell of orzo pasta in a pot of boiling water with a bouillon cube and an unhealthy amount of butter that came wafting from my Oma’s kitchen. It is one of those homey scents which flashes me back to that ripe old age of four where everything was fun, fresh, and free and I was innocent and invincible. While sitting in Bobby B's Roti Shop in Bridgeport, waiting for my meal, I noticed many people walking to the doorway, stopping, and taking a long inhale which ended with a broad young smile stretched across their face. It peaked my curiosity to know what they were feeling, and they all said, “Home.” Bobby B’s is a restaurant in Bridgeport serving curries, roti, and jerk straight from the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago.
I try to work out before I go to each venue because it provides me with a calorie buffer and a void in my stomach. However, this time I went over the edge. My workout was fierce and brutal, and my stomach was emptier than ever, ready for some Caribbean Creole cuisine. Unfortunately, it was not ready for the car ride which escalated the hunger pain and threw my feelings far into the hangry column. Luckily, Bobby B’s is located relatively close to the highway and easy to find which gave me a little ease of mind because I knew food was on the way. Frantically, I ordered, not knowing where or what to look at and trusting the lovely lady behind the counter to guide my eating.
We ordered one veggie roti, one jerk chicken over rice, one stewed chicken over rice, and one goat over rice, and a beautiful red sorrel drink. The veggie roti was wild, stuffed with spinach, potatoes, and chickpeas that were cooked in a variety of spices for taste. If I had known the chicken was available to go into a roti, I would have ordered another one no doubt. Flour and beans mixed into a roti dough and cooked till soft and foldable and stuffed to the brim with stewed veggies. This dish was prime for lunch or snack at any hour of the day.
Then I jumped into the chickens and curried goat. Stewed till impossibly tender and served with rice, beans, sweet plantains, and braised cabbage making the meals hearty. All three had excellent flavor and were satisfying. Caveat to the customer, the goat was not deboned, so you had to wrestle with it a little but, it added to the experience for sure.
What surprised me about these meals was that after tasting them after they cooled down, they had more flavor which was masked originally by their high temperature. Subtle chicken notes, herbal sparks, and love were all tastable after the dishes reached an appropriate temperature. The Sorrel drink was the perfect compliment to the steaming plate in front of me. Made from the hibiscus flower and not from my dad's fuzzy white winter boots, this drink was sweet, tart, tangy, floral, and addictive. With a bright red color and taste which resembled passion fruit, I could not put it down until the cup was dry.
By the end, I was full… really full. My stomach can lift four to five plates easy, and this meal was humbling yet wonderful. With Trinidad and Tobago natives constantly streaming through the restaurant I had complete confidence I was getting an authentic taste of what this small dual island Caribbean nation have to offer. Located at 1175 Fairfield Avenue Bridgeport with a large sign outside proudly exhibiting their name, it was hard to miss- even in my hungry panic. Check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bobbybrotishop/
Bobby B's Roti Shop @ 1176 Fairfield Ave Bridgeport, CT