Checking Out The Namesake Dish At Nio’s Trinidad Roti Truck
Last week, we at Midtown Lunch: Downtown got a tip that Nio’s Trinidad Roti truck was parked directly in front of Veronica’s Kitchen cart on Water between Maiden Lane & Pine. I went in search of the truck on Monday in the rain and when I didn’t see it parked in that spot, I turned around to see what the situation was at Veronica’s, only to find that the cart was MIA and Nio’s had taken their regular spot on Front St. My brain screamed “WHAT?!,” but I calmed down enough to realize that maybe Veronica’s wasn’t out that day because of the non-stop rain. So I stepped up to the window at Nio’s, feeling like I was betraying an old friend, and ordered some lunch.
The cardboard menu at Nio’s isn’t exactly descriptive and so when I ordered a chicken roti ($6) I wasn’t sure if it was jerk chicken, stew chicken or what. I had tried to get a double ($2), but they didn’t have them that day (In true island fashion, they “didn’t get around to it.”). There are a lot of options for roti/over rice fillings, including vegetable, chickpea and potato, oxtail, beef and chicken both with or without bones. I opted for the bone-in variety because I figured dark meat chicken was better.
Within seconds I had a roti in a paper bag in my hand which sort of worried me because my gold standard for this dish was a soupy, messy, spicy affair from the Trinidad & Tobago cart down on Whitehall St. that I wish I could eat more often.
This was a dry roti, wrapped up tight like a burrito in a thick skin that shed pieces of cornmeal when you ripped into it (which you have to do eventually if you get any meat with bones). I ate it like a burrito for a while until I got to a lump of chicken that need dissecting. Although I’d said I wanted mine spicy, there wasn’t any hot sauce or anything to be found. Actually, it was a little on the bland side and had no sauce in the middle. The chunks of chicken were tender and plentiful and the mashed potatoes that were also inside were good, but it just needed a kick of some sauce to jazz things up. Next time I’m going to ask more questions before placing my order at Nio’s.
I want to go back and check out the doubles and one of their protein over rice and peas dishes. Hopefully Veronica’s and Nio’s can coexist, or the truck finds a new spot to park so we can have another source of Caribbean food to enjoy without losing a long time favorite.
Nio’s Trinidad Roti Truck, parked in the area of Water St. between Maiden Lane and Pine St.