My hometown welcomed us with a cold embrace two weeks ago. A disorganized flight check-in, courtesy of Iberia Airlines, foreshadowed a rough journey ahead. The budget airline had us running all over Casablanca airport in search of our boarding passes, failed to communicate our vegan meal preference to the partnering airline, and had no complimentary offerings other than small cups of water to offer us onboard. Nonetheless, we made our way to New York via Madrid and London just in time for Lil’ Z’s first snowfall and did our best to stay warm in the cold city.
On our last weekend in New York my family gathered at one of our favorite restaurants—The Door—where they promise an elegant Jamaican dining experience. Over the years they have upheld their mission by upgrading the cuisine and hospitality associated with Caribbean dining. Many eateries operate like a glorified kitchen with inconsistent menus, long waits, and a shortage of customer service. The Door, however, has set itself apart and was the most suitable place for our patronage.
The Door’s menu offers traditional Jamaican favorites alongside a healthy selection of alternatives. The full gamut of jerk, curried, and stewed meat and seafood dishes sit comfortably alongside salad meals, vegetarian dishes, and plant-based side orders. Their vegetarian selection includes brown-stewed tofu, tofu stir-fry, curried soy chunks, and ital stew. Each dish is thoughtfully prepared and well-seasoned for both the familiar and novice palate. Entrees are served with either soup or salad, preceded by baskets of rolls and cornbread. The beverage selection includes mainstays like pineapple ginger drink, carrot juice, and sorrel made from dried hibiscus.
While some have complained that on occasion their service and food quality has fallen short, these occurrences are obviously rare since the restaurant is permanently packed on any given day. More than their weekly jazz band or their enchanting décor, The Door succeeds at hospitality. The mastermind behind their success is a sharp and decisive businesswoman who can be regularly seen chatting with guests in the dining hall and commanding her staff from the front annex to the kitchen. Their mostly Jamaican and Jamaican-American staff are consistently warm, professional, and friendly. They hosted our party of almost 20 with seamless ease, precision, and exceptional cordiality. Admittedly, there are cheaper places to eat good food but The Door serves ambiance just as savory as their cuisine.