BK9, down the block from Barclays Center, is the realized dream of nine childhood friends, all sons of Island immigrants: a “neighborhood place” serving the food they grew up loving—Caribbean cuisine with a Brooklyn accent.
NYC-born executive chef Christian Ortiz (Le Bernadin) deliciously fulfills the owners’ vision with a simple yet diverse menu handsomely presented (think Caribbean-cruise-style) from an open-plan kitchen to a 50-seat dining room; the 10 get-‘em-while-you-can places at the full bar fill up fast.
For starters ($9 to $11), we enjoyed tangy coconut citrus ceviche, falling-off-the-bone jerk chicken, crispy pork belly and a flaky braised oxtail empanada. Each entrée—braised oxtail ($18) and seared scallops ($24)—is easy on your fork and taste buds. A pleasant surprise: La Mulia, tequila, jalapeño syrup, lime with a splash of orange over ice.
Say "Yes!” to either of the two desserts ($7): Romeo y Julieta, a delicate pair of guava-preserve-filled empanadas (you won’t believe they’re fried!), or spiced parsnip cake, with yummy cream cheese frosting. Just added: BK9’s late-night menu. Both empanada items are joined by smoky fried chicken, yucca chips and sliced pork skins; we’ll have to go back and try these.
A native New Yorker, Jim Nedelka is happy he has the luxury of no longer needing to eat at his desk.