As a resident of Crown Heights much of my diet is made up of great, cheap Caribbean food, and my absolute favorite meal is a roti: a thin, stretchy, buttery whole-wheat wrap filled to bursting with savory stew. A great roti is filling, delicious and inexpensive, usually costing around $6 to $8 for a meatless option.
I've eaten roti all over Brooklyn, and the most exemplary version I've found is served at Glenda's Roti Shop, a ramshackle little joint right off Nostrand Avenue. A few bare-bones tables and chairs sit in front of a pane of bulletproof glass at the counter, behind which Glenda Henry, a soft-spoken, middle-aged woman from Trinidad, works her magic.
Most days, Glenda's offers two vegetarian roti (if you're lucky, you'll arrive on a day when a third option, pumpkin, is in stock). On a recent visit, I started with Mixed Vegetable ($6), a deeply flavored curried mélange of tender potatoes, soft green cabbage, shredded carrots, and hot and sweet peppers.
Next up was the classic combination of Channa and Potato ($6), a thick, flavor-packed stew of chickpeas and potatoes that's heavy on the garlic, onions and fresh ginger.
Glenda's fillings are excellent, but the real draw here is the roti itself: it's thin, well-seasoned and perfectly tender. Lesser roti can often be tough, dry and tasteless, but that's a pitfall I have yet to experience at this beloved neighborhood spot.