Caribbean Island and Puerto Plata Seafood on the Water opens onto Freeport’s Nautical Mile
Tn summer, Freeport’s Nautical Mile heads further south than the south shore of Nassau, as far as the Caribbean. Two sensational new restaurants, Caribbean Island and Puerto Plata Seafood on the Water, introduce Milers to Jamaican, Guyanese and Dominican flavors, along with accompanying drinks and live music.
2021 also marks the debut of Hibiscus on the Mile, the new incarnation of stalwart EB Elliot’s. The name refers to the tropical flower which is the main ingredient in sorrel, the scarlet-colored herbal tea that is popular throughout the Caribbean. And while the main menu remains unchanged, a special menu features jerk pork and chicken, fried rice and lo mein – the latter two are prime examples of the contribution Chinese workers make to Jamaican cuisine.
So if you’ve had your fill of fried calamari and baked clams but still crave the ocean breeze (or, at least, the Woodcleft Canal breeze), book a trip to Freeport.
229 Woodcleft Ave. Freeport, 516-415-7616
For Bibi Bethune, the decision to open a Caribbean restaurant in Freeport was natural. She and her husband, Egbert, owned an estate of Caribbean restaurants in Queens (currently GT Kingston Diner and GT Kingston Karaoke Bar) and she knew her patrons frequented the Nautical Mile. “A lot of them come here for a drink, for the view, but there is no restaurant that satisfies them,” she said.
Earlier this year, she visited the Mile to check out another vacant restaurant, but when she saw that the old Mile on the Water was for rent, she decided to take the larger space. With around 80 seats inside and the same number outside, there’s plenty of room for live music, and the Caribbean island hosts bands playing Jamaican reggae and soca, a native West Indian genre. from Trinidad.
Bethune herself is from Guyana and her menu offers a chance to experience the distinctive fusion of Caribbean and Indian influences from this South American country, including curried goat cheese served with roasted flatbread and cooked rice. , a dish of rice and vegetables cooked in coconut. Milk. From her husband’s native Jamaica comes salted fish (salt cod) with okra or callaloo (greens), jerk chicken and pork and stewed oxtail, as well as Jamaican-Italian-American mashup, rasta pasta: penne with jerk seasoning and coconut cream sauce.
Bethune, who runs the kitchen, estimates that she brought about a quarter of GT Kingston’s menu to Freeport. But, suitable for the location, she complemented it with seafood. Choose your creature (red snapper, salmon, shrimp, lobster or crab) and your preparation (steamed with Caribbean flavors and vegetables, grilled with seasoning jerk or glazed with mango sauce). Few entries here exceed $ 30, with far less than $ 25.
When the Caribbean island gets its liquor license, bartender Priya Jairaj plans to serve a plethora of margaritas, including one with jalapeño-infused tequila topped with spicy salt.
Left: Chef-owner Bibi Bethune chats with Caribbean Island patrons in Freeport. Above: Goat cheese curry with roti, fried plantains, rice and peas from the Caribbean island. Bottom: The mango margarita from the Caribbean island. Photo credit: Yvonne Albinowski
Seafood in Puerto Plata on the water
42 Woodcleft Ave, Freeport, 516-665-3025
Puerto Plata is a coastal city in the Dominican Republic renowned for its beaches and natural beauty. Within the limited confines of Freeport, Rudy Liriano and his partners honor this vibe with a Latin-accented seafood restaurant that is already drawing crowds.
The restaurant’s seed was planted in Brooklyn in 1998 when Rey Liriano opened a modest Dominican restaurant called Puerto Plata. His son Rudy grew up in the business and in 2013 started his own seafood market of the same name. During the pandemic, with the market closed to customers, Liriano began selling platters of steamed and seasoned seafood through a window. Helped by his social media presence – he currently has over 100,000 Instagram followers – it has exploded.
Customers, Liriano said, were clamoring for a location to sit and a location by the water felt natural. Earlier this year, he, his father Lance Diaz and Diony Urena took over the old Craft House, redecorating the sprawling gastropub with contemporary nautical decor.
The menu is dominated by steamed seafood platters that are designed to be shared by groups – each serves 5-6 people – and range from a salmon-only platter ($ 92) to King’s Feast from Snow crab and king crab, lobster tails and giant lobster tails and shrimp ($ 292). The platters, which all include potatoes and vegetables, can be discounted for individual diners or couples.
There aren’t many Dominican dishes on the menu in Puerto Plata, but among the starters you will find “sopa revive muertos”, a seafood soup to revive the dead and “the famous ceviche of La Doña del Sazon “. The two take a kick out of the superlative hot sauce made by Liriano’s mother, Aracelis Diaz. The rest of the entrees lean more towards the east coast than Tropical Beach: clams and oysters on the half-shell, crab cakes, lobster rolls.
The craft beer bar on the second floor of Craft House now houses a battery of nine dispensers of frozen drinks in alluring pastel tones. And its old beer garden just across the street is being transformed into an open-air bar whose menu will feature Dominican picadera (fried fries) and live music like merengue tipico. , drum and accordion.
Left: King’s Day in Puerto Plata Seafood on the Water in Freeport. Above: Ceviche in Puerto Plata Seafood on the water. Bottom: Fulton Street with four bunches of snow crab legs, a pound of shrimp, two lobster tails, potatoes and corn at Puerto Plata Seafood on the Water. Photo credit: Yvonne Albinowski