Best Haitian Restaurant - 2011
In the chain-restaurant-friendly, culinarily shy zone that is Kendall, there's a party going on near the parking lot of a Publix. Inside a nondescript, squat building, guitar music wafts, political debates sound in Kreyol, and the clink of silverware delving into platters of rich goat and fish stews fills the air. It's the area's only Haitian restaurant and a community hub, a ten-seater family joint where patrons usually know each other by name and have no qualms about entering the kitchen to greet staff or obtain extra sauce. The homemade dishes that make the rounds courtesy of owner Carine Baez, her husband, and sons: fresh lambí en sauce, conch stewed until soft and melded with spicy peppers, onions, and tomato; riz et pois, savory rice and beans cooked with diri ak djon-djon, imported Caribbean black mushrooms; and street food platters with neat arrangements of fried goat, pork chunks, and malanga fritters waiting to be dipped into searingly spicy sauces. Outside, it's strip-mall hell. But if you stay long enough in Le Lambí's warm embrace, you almost forget it.