By now, Cane may be on your radar big time because Washington Post critic and stomach about town Tom Sietsema told you how amazing it is. But just in case you missed that, I am here to tell you three things:
- Oxtails are a food of the gods
- The oxtails at Cane are a near religious experience
- If you order them, bring wipes.
Cane, which has been open since spring, took over the old Batter Bowl/Uni Bistro spot. The small place is now painted in curry yellow and feels like you’re stepping into a Caribbean paradise– which you are. The smells are incredible: Savory and spicy waves of curries and hot peppers reminiscent of Indian food but with their own special twist waft all over the place. Incidentally, there is a heavy Indian influence in Caribbean food in large part due to the British empire’s reach: Many plantation workers in the Caribbean came from India, and the flavors they brought intermingled with local cuisine to create something as amazing as what you can find at Cane. (This Vice article about a Trinidadian roti joint touches on the subject.)
But back to the oxtails and the crispy kale and the coconut lime rice and the geera pork and the jerk wings and the curries (both vegetarian and for meat lovers) and the snapper escovitch and everything else: You really cannot go wrong ordering from the concise and mighty menu. If you went and only ordered coconut lime rice, you would leave happy and full, as the portion is generously served on a half coconut shell. I’d be sad for you because you didn’t try anything else, but hey– you do you (or picky children, you do you, too). You can also enjoy the top-notch hospitality from the entire staff, who all greet you warmly and are attentive and always happy to share their favorites from the menu with first-timers.
One of the best parts about dining at Cane is that the tables are close to one another, so you can ask your neighbors about their dishes and compare notes. The bread pudding made one of my table neighbors weak in the knees– it is served like Sietsema described, as a big slice with a whole ice cream cone a la mode. Another table ordered the snapper escovitch, and the wafts of perfectly cooked and glazed fish drifted over to ours in no time. You will want to return to try all the dishes, I’m sure, but make sure that whatever you do, you try the oxtails first: Just get in there and don’t be afraid to gnaw, gnaw, gnaw your way to heaven.
If you go:
What: Cane, a new Trinidadian-inspired restaurant on H Street
Where: 403 H Street NE
When: Tuesday- Thursday, 5-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5-11 p.m. Cane is closed today, Wednesday, July 31.
What else: Currently, Cane accepts no reservations, but we haven’t had problems getting a table for a party of two on weekdays between 6-7 p.m. The decibel level measured 84 dB during a Friday evening visit– the ambiance is loud due to the space constraints, but it’s not obnoxious.