CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn (PIX11) — At the New York West Indian Day Carnival Parade, nearly 30 different countries are represented.
While there are gastronomic themes among them, each one has unique cuisine. The Grenadian-Trinidadian restaurant Savannah Spiced captures the commonalities among the region’s cultures while acknowledging their distinctive flavors and styles.
Natalie Lamming Alexander is the executive chef and co-founder of the gourmet casual establishment on Utica Avenue in Crown Heights.
The varied menu, Lamming Alexander said, reflects the culinary knowledge and history of the cultures she and her husband hail from. Her husband, Davis Alexander, is the mixologist for Savannah Spice and a co-owner.
At lunchtime, the couple recently brought out a sampling menu of food and drinks for PIX11 News viewers, followers, and the television crew to enjoy.
It began with seafood.
“Our Carriacou red snapper,” Lamming Alexander said about the first dish. “Carriacou is a place in Grenada. We mix it up with a lot of Grenadian spices.”
It was followed by shellfish. “This is curry crab and dumpling,” she said, introducing a dish with finely spiced sauce. “It’s very, very popular in Trinidad and Tobago.”
Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada, two island nations, unite at the Alexanders’ restaurant and in their marriage. He is from Grenada; she’s from Trinidad.
“We fell in love over the collaboration of mixing foods,” Lamming Alexander said and further explained how her home country figures into the restaurant’s name.
“Savannah is one of our most popular landmarks in Trinidad,” she said, using the nickname for Queens Park Savannah, the main park in Port of Spain, Trinidad’s capital.
Grenada is also part of the name.
“Grenada is the Island of Spice,” Lamming Alexander continued, invoking the motto for the island nation from which her husband hails. “So the collaboration, that’s how you get Savannah Spiced.”
Her Grenadian husband, Davis Alexander, explained how he uses choice spices in his cocktails and other flavorings and liqueurs unique to the Caribbean islands.
One of his signature drinks, Play A Jab, is inspired by the J’Ouvert festival, which celebrates Africans in the Caribbean being freed from enslavement.
The cocktail, Alexander the Cocktail, reflects that history through its native ingredients.
It begins with “a traditional Grenadian rum. It’s called Woodman,” the mixologist said.
Added to that, he said, is a mix of freshly cut sp are native to the Caribbean.
“There’s a lot of flavors in there,” said Alexander, then mixed it all in a shaker.
The finished product, Play A Jab, refers to what J’Ouvert is called in Grenada: Jab Jab.
“On Jab Jab, you get up in the morning, you have all painted black on your body,” Alexander said. “It’s an action that slavery has been freed.”
Between the drinks and the food, Savannah Spiced has an innovative and tempting between the drinks and the food menu.
While it’s a Trinidadian-Grenadian mix, Savannah Spice serves up a fusion from across the Caribbean that left the PIX11 News crew wanting more and having fond afterthoughts of the dining experience once it sadly ended.
Savannah Spiced provides a memorable pan-Caribbean culinary adventure.
“Someone could come into the restaurant from Barbados and say, ‘Hey look, I’m Bajan. Can you incorporate something?'” Lamming Alexander said, using the nickname for Barbadians. The answer, she said, was simple.
“Of course,” she said. “The Caribbean is a house of many rooms, and if one room falls apart, there’s no house.”
Savannah Spiced is at 158 Utica Avenue in Crown Heights, between St. Marks Avenue and Prospect Place.