Last week Jify Shah opened up a namesake restaurant next to his venue Cameo Gallery, where Lovin’ Cup Café once stood. The chef there has stayed along at Jify’s, but the menu, concept, as well as the interior have all been transformed into a pretty refined Caribbean restaurant and bar.
Some of the menu draws directly from Shah’s childhood in Curaçao: “Polenta fries are a snack I just grew up eating on the side of any dish, just like French fries,” he said. The rest is a mix of traditional fare and “twists on popular American dishes that we made Caribbean,” like the jerk-marinated burger with grilled pineapple, and the fish sandwich with cilantro and chipotle mayo.
For their first proper drink menu, Jify and crew put together five original cocktails based on his experiences at Cameo and his “strong ties with the music scene in Brooklyn,” he said. Especially dank are the Losing My Edge (jalapeño-infused vodka, grapefruit juice, lime, maraschino, and smoked salt) and Forget (rum, absinthe, Curaçao, Cocchi Americano, and lime).
But not everything has changed. If you’ve been around the block at Cameo / Lovin’ Cup Cafe (and even Anytime before them), perhaps you recall those tater tots. “We’ve always had tater tots,” Jify said. “We wanted to keep them but add a little twist to it by Cajunizing them.”
Much like those tots, Cameo has gotten some spice and a great deal more flavor, but the chill atmosphere remains. “The biggest thing to me is to make sure we have an unpretentious and cool environment,” Jify explained. And sure enough, the restaurant’s lively island vibe certainly isn’t as over-the-top as that other Caribbean newcomer, Miss Lily’s at 7A Cafe. Plus it’ll continue to be devoted to the local music community, with an Indie Rock Saturday Brunch and a Disco Sunday Brunch, complete with live DJs.
Though Jify’s certainly isn’t the cheapest Caribbean fare around (at just under $20 for most entrees, $10-ish for apps, and drinks galore, it would be easy for two to push $100) there are tons of options for cheap eats. During happy hour (Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m) there will be $2 sliders and jerk chicken wings for just a buck, in addition to cheap dranks.
See the Jify’s menu below.