a lively place in dreary downtown Brooklyn

O.K. rainy weekday nights on Livingston Street, downtown Brooklyn, are hardly lively, but someone has taken a lot of time, care and consideration in the opening of Taino Soliel, an upscale Caribbean restaurant. You get into the festive mood almost immediately with live plants, a colorful and interesting décor and even livelier island music. Starting up a restaurant is not easy and there have been some initial problems at Taino, but they seem to have really gotten their act together. From the first greeting, to the constant attention and straight answers to your questions, you have the feeling that you really matter. In every restaurant what really matters is the food. Here Taino excels, try the Calamari ala Coco. You have to be careful with Calamari you can easily wind up with rubber bands. This Calamari was done and still tender, a coconut sauce with red and green peppers and cilantro made this dish a real standout The main courses are done just so, although I admit that I went way out on a limb when I ordered the Mofongo (a pork or shrimp concoction with yucca). The chicken stew was tasty without being spicy and the fried meats tender and juicy. You had the feeling, that someone in the kitchen puts a lot of pride in his/her work. Most dishes come with two sides and the best are the sweet potato fries and the sweet plantains. A carafe of Sangria and I was looking for my sun block. Look for their special nights. Yesterday, the Martinis were five dollars and Thursday is Salsa night with an excellent Salsa dancing instructor (Don’t drink and Dance!). A full dinner for two is about $75 For more see http://www.ditmasestates.com

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