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At Michelle’s, flavors of Trinidad start with doubles

Though the restaurant is stationed inside the Horsefeathers Building on Connecticut Street, Michelle’s Caribbean has remained invisible to many citizens of the West Side.

The fact that their space’s direct entrance is on Normal Avenue, instead of the handsome Connecticut Avenue side occupied by Martin Cooks, probably doesn’t help.

When customers find their way in, they are greeted by owner Grace Haynes or her sister Merlene Bernard, who are happy to give first-timers a crash course in the cuisine of Trinidad.

History gave the women’s homeland a blend of Indian and African cuisines that has, through their skilled hands, produced delicious eating opportunities in Buffalo.

One dish they offer that everyone can enjoy is doubles ($2). Those are curried chickpeas served atop a pair of crepes, yellow with saffron and fragrant with cumin.

The legumes are sassed up with sweet-and-sour brown tamarind sauce, mango chutney and, if desired, a spicy pepper sauce. It has a habanero bite, but isn’t painful.

Since they’re meatless and dairy-free, they’re a favorite with vegan visitors, but their heartiness and lively flavors make them a satisfying snack for carnivores as well.

They can find meat elsewhere on the menu, after all.

Michelle’s always has one or two chicken dishes, like curry chicken or brown sauce chicken.

Like all of their dinner plates ($9-$12), they’re served with rice, sweet plantains and cabbage slaw with bell peppers. Toward the weekend, Thursday through Saturday, meal choices are broader, with curry goat, oxtails and more.

“The doubles are every day,” said Haynes. The restaurant is closed Sunday and Monday, however.

Info: Michelle’s Caribbean, Horsefeathers, 346 Connecticut St., 279-6988,, entrance on Normal Avenue.


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