J and I live in an area called Winter Hill, in Somerville, Ma. It is best known for Whitey Bulger and the notorious efforts of the Winter Hill Gang.
Pretty crazy right?
Anyways, now it is an up and coming area surrounded by the hip areas of Somerville, such as Davis & Union Squares, which are known for their fun bars and great eateries.
Within walking distance of my house, I have a plethora of food, including Japanese, Southern, Italian, Moroccan and a Haitian Creole restaurant.
We stumbled upon Pikliz International Kitchen as we walked around the neighborhood when we first moved in.
Justin and I had passed by the restaurant so many times and the menu looked BOMB, featuring items like Stewed Oxtail, Red Snapper, Fried Plantains and Goat.
Coincidentally, J started to get his hair done at a Salon a few stores down from the restaurant, by none other than Pikliz owner Francillon Dabady.
Dabady is a jack of all trades owning Pikliz and manning a chair at Salon Mira.
He is the son of Political refugee parents and came to the states from Haiti at 2 years old after his father was exiled. Dabady grew up in Boston and started producing and managing for local artists at a young age. Simultaneously he began cutting hair as a barber.
Francillon told us,“when I was younger my mother was always catering food for big events at their church, so I had a love for cooking and one day I wanted some food while I was working in the Barber shop. I actually wanted jerk chicken. I wanted it with Haitian style rice and beans and no restaurant had that type of combination. So, I decided to create my own.”
Pikliz opened on March 20th 2016 right on Broadway.
We went there on a dreary and rainy Saturday afternoon and were greeted by Marlin, the General Manager and were given the royal treatment and a hearty meal.
Southern fried chicken with a Caribbean twist of paprika, green onions and secret spiced potato chips.
The crunch in the chips were fabulous and the dish is straight forward and made really well with the perfect amount of salt.
We sampled mixed veggies: seasoned okra, legumes done Haitian style with cilantro, carrots, onion and corn. In addition to a mixture of corn and carrots.
The legumes were something I have never tried before and I was super taken aback by the full, meaty like flavor they had.
We also tried the jerked pork rice and beans served with the namesake, pikliz.
So why Pikliz?
“Pikliz is a condiment made with pickled cabbage, carrots, seasonings and scotch bonnet pepper native to the Caribbean island of Haiti. I like to call it the Caribbean’s kimchi. It really compliments all sorts of dishes from the Caribbean’s; Jamaican, Dominican, Cuban and Trinidadian. It really does go well with everything. Also, I enjoy food from everywhere. That’s why when someone comes in to Pikliz International they are able to find a little bit of everything from the Caribbean’s and the states.”
We sampled more dishes; black rice with sweet peas and jojo, a Haitian seasoning, served with macaroni au gratin and a seasoned and fried goat.
Oxtail with rice. Plantain and jerk chicken. Haitian chicken patties and a seasoned stewed chicken made with love.
I have to say; the oxtail was one of my favorite items on the menu. Braised down to perfection. Fork tender and so, so juicy. Plus, at $15 the price can’t get beat.
In general, I was blown away by the prices and quality at Pikliz. At most restaurants these days you wouldn’t be able to find oxtail or even goat for less than $20. Not only are you finding that here, the portion sizes are HUMONGOUS.
At Pikliz you are truly stretching your dollar. They have a $5 chicken and rice special all day, every day!
This was my first time having true food from the Caribbean and I was pleasantly surprised by the ingredients and hominess of all the dishes. It felt like my grandma was back there cooking all the dishes just the way I like them.
“My future plans for Pikliz International Kitchen is to hopefully one day have a big sit-down restaurant where I can offer more variety of the Caribbean. Who knows, maybe one day I can have a Pikliz at the new Wynn casino.”
If you are looking to try something different in the Boston/Somerville area, I highly recommend dropping into Pikliz for a firsthand look at food from the Caribbean.
With large portion sizes, quality ingredients and a cheap price tag, you can’t go wrong!
288 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02145