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A little bit of Haiti in New London

By Jenna Cho

Publication: theday.com

Published March 07. 2014 1:45PM   Updated March 07. 2014 2:02PM

I wasn't planning on feasting on goat meat the other day, but that's exactly what I did when my colleague Tim Cotter and I went to grab lunch at the In-N-Out Caribbean Cuisine in New London.

They had both stewed and fried goat meat, and when the friendly guy behind the counter offered us a sample, how could we refuse?

We weren't sure what to expect when we got there. The eatery serves authentic Haitian cuisine, as advertised on its menu, but the place, at 133 Green St., didn't look like it had evolved much past its former life as a convenience store.

But while the convenience store side of the operation wasn't terribly exciting, delicious things were happening in the kitchen, behind the counter and out of sight. Goat meat, it turns out, is lean and flavorful, beef-like but a bit gamier, in a good way.

Stewed, it tasted somewhat like ropa vieja, that Cuban dish that consists of fall-apart tender shredded beef. Fried goat, on the other hand, has a sharp beef jerky-esque saltiness and texture to it.

Though we had stopped in for lunch right at noon, we were disappointed that In-N-Out didn't have everything on its menu ready for the lunch crowd. No fried chicken (poulet frit) that day also meant no stewed chicken (sauce de poulet), so Tim settled for the griot (fried, marinated pork chunks, $8.50 for a medium and $10.50 for a large) and I opted for the legumes ($8.99/$10.99), a vegetarian stew of mashed eggplant, chayote (a pear-like fruit that's more like a squash), spinach and carrots.

These were items off the dinner menu, which means they came with perfectly cooked rice and beans and two slices of fried plantains. We may have ordered medium-sized dinners, but mine was enough for two meals.

My légumes mixed with the rice and beans were just what I needed on a cold winter day. I got a coconut soda to go with my meal and felt downright tropical.

Tim found his pork chunks a little too fatty for his taste, but for someone who walked in swearing he'd never try goat meat, he sure did seem to enjoy the samples we tasted.

We also tried the fried banana beignets ($3.99 for four), which are like doughnut holes. They were a little underdone inside but still mighty tasty.

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