LOLO’s Seafood Shack did not turn out to be my family’s favorite restaurant. They have an interesting menu with unique flavors. It’s definitely not for those whose taste buds are limited to pizza, wings and burgers. LOLO’s Seafood Shack’s décor is really cool. Although seating is limited and somewhat uncomfortable, it serves its purpose. I’m not giving this restaurant a bad review. I like the place, but you kind of have to know what you like before you end up ordering something you don’t like. It isn’t a place I’ve dined at in the past. Being from the Caribbean, I have expectations of how Caribbean dishes should taste. A lot of the dishes on the menu at LOLO’s Seafood Shack sounds more exciting than they taste. It isn’t that the food is bad, I remember explaining to Omar, sometimes when you’re use to eating certain types of food prepared a specific way, you always expect it to taste the way you’re use to tasting it. I don’t want to blame LOLO’s Seafood Shack for me not loving their food. I’m going to blame myself for entering the restaurant expecting to taste my dad’s Johnny Cake. It’s like going to your In-Law’s house for dinner expecting to taste your Momma’s cooking.
My husband is a burger kind of guy. He’s not as open to trying different foods as me and my daughter. Unfortunately, burgers are not on the menu at this restaurant so he settled on the BBQ Beef Brisket Sandwich. I ordered the Limerz Starter Combo which included a crabby dip with callalou, manchego and a smoked gouda panko crust. The smoked gouda gave the crabby dip a smoked herring taste that I did not like at all. The combo also included conch fritters, which I tried in the Bahamas at a restaurant with the namesake and loved the Bohemian version, and jerk ribs. Omar, ultimately, ate the jerk ribs. I wasn’t a fan of any of it. It didn’t taste like authentic Caribbean food. It was like the menu was affected by the gentrification of Harlem. The food speaks of a white person from downtown, Manhattan visiting the Caribbean and being so inspired by the food and culture that they decide to open a “LOLO” in Harlem based on their Caribbean experience with a twist.
As I wrote in a previous piece, sometimes food should be as simple as meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Adding a twist just complicates things and takes away from the heart of the dish. Having the opportunity to visit Rosemary’s an actual LOLO in St. Martin, I can fairly say that LOLO’s Seafood Shack does not genuinely represent Caribbean street food.
On a more positive note, the guy at the front of LOLO’s Seafood Shack reminds me of Bruno Mars. He was very friendly and inviting. The atmosphere is really warming. We visited the restaurant during the winter so we did not get to utilize the outdoor space in the back. I love the neighborhood – it’s like an uptown version of Williamsburg. It’s pretty neat not having to commute all the way to Brooklyn or the Village. This is the same neighborhood where I found Harley’s Smoke Shack. If you have an open palate, I recommend you visiting LOLO’s Seafood Shack.
LoLo’s Seafood Shack
303 W. 116th St.