I had a very nice meal recently at Booty’s Street Food. I hadn’t been in a while, which is a downside to my gig as a food writer. I’m not complaining; don’t get me wrong, it’s just that my “responsibilities” lead me to new restaurants more often than back to places I’ve enjoyed. So I took some work to Booty’s last week to catch up with the place and was glad I did. Highlights: grilled baby octopus skewers; maduros con queso; accras fritters; and papanasi – Romanian doughnut holes with mascarpone cheese, jam and sour cream.
I’m a sucker for octopus, he said, without irony. They do a good job with it at Booty’s; there’s an herb-rub put on before it’s cooked, then it’s served with one of the world’s great sauces: gochujang. Google it; I’ll wait.
Taken together it’s a very nice dish. Could it be better? They could grill the octopus, I guess, but not everybody has a wood-fired oven in the kitchen.
Plantains are a weird fruit; somewhere between a banana and a potato, and they take some skill to cook properly. The way I see it, the best way to make them is to combine the sweet and savory aspects, and that’s what they do at Booty’s. Sure it’s damn near a dessert, but if that bothers you, ask them to serve the brown sugar syrup on the side. I think the cheese balances the sweet notes out pretty well.
The accras are a fritter that remind me of a hush puppy done right, then stuffed with little shrimp. There’s coconut involved, and a bit of citrus; the dish is served with a sweet-hot dipping sauce. I’ve never been to Martinique, so I can’t say whether it’s entirely authentic, but I can say I really dug the fritters. The sauce, I could have done without; a little acid would have been nice.
The papanasi provided further proof that the kitchen at Booty’s knows how to use the fryer. That’s all they needed to do to win me over with this one. I just can’t end a meal with a super-sweet dessert most of the time, so these little doughnuts worked out pretty well.
I will admit that I have a low threshold for hipster pretension. I will admit that Booty’s can on occasion have a high “hipster to square” ratio going on. I will admit that the folks who work there and the folks who own the place are more hip than I. Most humans are. But I will also say that I have never felt that Booty’s is pretentious.
The service I had on this last occasion was spot on. They were there when I needed them, answered the questions I had, and brought the check when I was ready to go. That, and they were friendly, too.
So go to Booty’s. You’ll like it, I think. In other news, I’m too tired; so sick and tired, and I’m feeling very sick and ill today.