By The Black Foodies
The Black Foodies absolutely love cuisine from the Caribbean. Jerked dishes from Jamaica, conch fritters from the Bahamas, and Bake and Shark from Trinidad are but a few delicious examples of island specialty dishes. One island nation often overlooked for its delicious cuisine is the mighty nation of Haiti. Kizin Creole Restaurant, located at 2311 Howard Street in Rogers Park on Chicago’s Far North Side, is doing an admirable job representing Haitian cuisine. Kizin is owned and operated by husband and wife, Daniel and Patricia Desir, both accomplished chefs. They are originally from Haiti and are sharing authentic Haitian comfort food with the community. Chef Daniel told us, “Haiti is one of the countries in the Caribbean that had a lot of colonizers. We had France, we had the Spanish, we had England. We got a bit of all of them which is why Haitian cuisine is so unique.” So, sit back and join us as we relive a Haitian culinary journey that still has our mouths watering.
Chef Daniel suggested we start things off with one of their most popular appetizers, the Beef Pate. Kizin’s beef pate reminded us of an empanada or – an even better description might be – mini Beef Wellingtons. Filo dough houses ground beef and is baked until golden brown. The filo was light and airy with a flakiness that any pastry chef would be proud of. The ground beef was well seasoned with a slightly spicy undertone that would not offend the palate of those that don’t tolerate heat very well. Our only critique is we wanted a bit more of that delightful ground beef filling; however, the pates were still outrageously delicious. Quoting from the LL Cool J song, Kanday, these beef pates will keep a “fat man well-fed.” These scrumptious little pillows of delight were an honorable mention in our ‘Top 10’ Tastiest Bites of 2018 YouTube video. https://youtu.be/WjReAURPuZk
Up next was a traditional Haitian dish that is eaten in conjunction with Haitian Independence Day and the Haitian New Year, called Soup Joumou. This squash soup is eaten every January 1 (continuing into the month of February), in celebration of the first successful African slave rebellion and military victory over the French in 1804 which established the country of Haiti. Kizin’s soup joumou was an exceptional rendition of this classic celebratory Haitian dish. The base of the soup is a squash purée, leaving the taste of squash very prominent and its texture velvety smooth. Being squash-based, it is slightly sweet, yet savory because of the spices and other vegetables incorporated into the soup. Kizin also adds vermicelli noodles which gives the soup a bit more body. After tasting this dish, Miss Coretta and I have deemed ourselves President and Vice President of the Soup Joumou Fan Club. We couldn’t stop eating it! It packed one wallop of a flavor punch and was deeply satisfying. When dining at Kizin Creole Restaurant, we strongly suggest sampling their soup joumou.
Our first entrée was the popular Haitian dish Taso Kabrit which is fried goat. It came with Diri Djondjon which is a black mushroom rice, a spicy coleslaw and a spicy creole dipping sauce. Every bite on this beautiful plate aptly demonstrated the culinary prowess of Chef Patricia and Chef Daniel. This very authentic Haitian meal was simply delicious. The goat was super tender – not gamy at all – and the spicy creole dipping sauce just made Kizin’s preparation of fried goat something to relish. For those of you not adventurous enough to eat goat, do yourself a favor and come out of your comfort zone and order the taso kabrit at Kizin and experience a Haitian classic. The black mushroom rice was also sensational. A mound of sticky rice with meaty mushroom morsels generously incorporated was to-die-for. And, make sure to eat the rice with some of the spicy Creole sauce as well, it elevates everything on the plate. The spicy slaw is vinegar-based with just enough habanero to grab your attention, while not bombarding you with heat. This taste of Haiti was good enough to feed the gods and have them wanting for seconds.
Our next entrée was Kizin Creole Restaurant’s Queue Boeuf which are braised oxtails that came with sticky white rice and a black bean sauce. The oxtails were cooked in a tomato-based braising liquid, were fork tender and measured a 9.5 on the Richter scale of flavor. We poured the black bean sauce over the rice and ‘got busy’ with it. We were pretty stuffed; yet, Chef Daniel insisted we sample his Poulet Creole which is Haitian stewed chicken. Being a yard bird connoisseur, who was I to turn down Chef Daniel? The poulet creole was another banger in a steady stream of culinary hits. Tender, succulent and satisfying, The Black Foodies have been officially converted into being lovers of the wonderful flavors of Haiti.
Kizin Creole Restaurant is the epitome of representing a culture’s cuisine. Chefs Pat and Dan gave us an unforgettable taste of Haiti. Kizin Creole Restaurant is an asset to the Rogers Park Community. The flavors are bold, the food is truly authentic, and the service is second to none. If you are acquainted with Haitian food or have never indulged, check them out for some amazing dining options that will have you yearning for more.
We rank restaurants based on number of kisses (one thru five). One…two…three…four, with five being the best. Kizin Creole Restaurant receives 5 kisses. Check out the video of our review https://youtu.be/lMwxVE3ocvM
The Black Foodies are food bloggers/vloggers and husband and wife of 26 years. We are also home cooks who believe in group economics and LOVE great food. We write the food blog ‘Let’s Eat’, where we review Black-owned and other ethnic restaurants. FOLLOW us on Instagram and Twitter @theblackfoodies, SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel ‘The Black Foodies’, where we review restaurants, share recipes, and give cooking tips. https://youtu.be/f1fsSQ24wgQ. Also LIKE us on Facebook and join our Facebook group, ‘World Wide Black Foodies’.
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