Last Thursday I was fortunate enough to take my wife out for a date night, and we both really wanted to try out the new kosher vegetarian Caribbean restaurant in DUMBO Brooklyn, Fiya. Fiya only launched over the last few weeks and is still improving their experience for diners. The name of the restaurant is meant to sound like a Caribbean pronunciation of the word “fire” and boy did it resonate.
First, about the restaurant:
Fiya is a relatively small restaurant situated at the edge of DUMBO, across the street from the (future, as of July 1st) new entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park, overlooking the East River and the NYC skyline. It’s a great location to walk around, especially if you don’t normally spend time in that area of NY. Driving there, I was concerned about getting parking in such a hip area of the city, but we easily found a spot down the block without circling the block.
The interior of the restaurant is akin to a lounge with couches, some communal seating at raw wood tables, and seating at the bar overlooking the small kitchen, and as a result, has a very relaxed vibe. We enjoyed sitting by the bar, watching our food being made, and chatting up Chef Mike (who is a classically trained chef from Le Cordon Bleu). On our visit there, there were all different types of Jews enjoying food or drinks at the restaurant. In the near future they plan on bringing in live music for Saturday nights once they secure a license to serve alcoholic drinks.
Everything on the menu is vegetarian, but that doesn’t mean the food was lacking flavor. Quite the opposite.
She ordered the “Kale the Queen” salad which included kale, raw pears, walnuts, with a sweet shallot vinaigrette. We watched the chef massaged the kale and the ingredients together, effectively removing the kale’s inherent bitterness. The salad was fresh and tasty.
We also ordered one of their freshly squeezed drinks, the “Turmeric Mixup” which was a juiced blend of Ginger, Turmeric, Apple, and Lemon. The drink was not particularly sweet, but it was very tasty and refreshing. Definitely different than what you’d get from the typical kosher restaurant.
For my main, I ordered what the waitress deemed to be their best seller, the “Fiya Veggie Jerk Chicken” which includes: veggie chunks (seitan) marinated in “taste from the island” jerk sauce. It came with a side of Jasmine rice, and I ordered a side bok choy salad to accompany it. Needless to say, the dish was very tasty and very spicy. My mouth was “on fiya!” I definitely recommend this dish for those who love a good heat with their meal.
Before we left, Fiya’s owner wanted us to taste a couple more things, and I’m glad we did. The first item we tried was the AnyTing Stew, which is a chef’s special where the ingredients can change day to day. The stew reminded me of a goulash, and it was delicious, likely something I would prioritize over the Jerk Chicken dish. The other item was the Ginger Lemonade which was fresh and packed a punch of ginger in your mouth. Very tasty, but only for those who truly love ginger.
Overall, Fiya is a fun and different experience for kosher restaurant-goers. If you’re looking for a unique experience when dining out, definitely consider hitting Fiya this summer.