Le Kiosque adds Haitian Cuisine to the Ethnic Mix

Le Kiosque, a newly opened South Orange restaurant serving French Caribbean cuisine, brings authentic Haitian food to the neighborhood. A review by Anthony@EthnicNJ.com.

Le Kiosque (260 Valley Street, South Orange, 973-763-0300), which opened last week, is a welcoming, family-owned restaurant serving Haitian Creole cuisine.  

According to Claudia Cesar, half of the husband and wife team behind Le Kiosque, all of the recipes are authentically Haitian. No Americanized translations of Haitian dishes - and that's fine with me.

For appetizers, try the grilled conch - chewy sea snail morsels served on skewers with a spicy pepper sauce, alongside a small bowl of a really spicy Haitian onion-pepper relish called Pikliz (I saved this bowl of fire to add to my entree); or the very tasty Kibby - croquettes of ground meat with spices wrapped in cous-cous and deep fried, the Haitian version of Middle Eastern kibbe. Entrees include Creole Shrimp, whole Red Snapper, and fried beef, pork and goat. My dried and fried beef cube dish reminded me of a chunky version of Cuban vaca frita. Each entree comes with a choice of white rice, "black rice" (colored by black mushrooms), or rice and red beans; and sweet or green plantains (smashed and fried up like Dominican tostones). The dishes are all  flavorful and slightly, but not overpoweringly spicy, unless you add that Pikliz. Even the mac and cheese off the children's menu is Haitian style - a baked rectangular version that was a big hit with our family's two mac and cheese experts.

Claudia and her husband Jean Guetty have turned the building that used to house a Pizza Hut on Valley Street (at the corner of Massel Terrace between 5th and 4th Streets) into a smooth and upscale space with about a dozen tables, a homemade wooden bar at the entrance (but the restaurant is BYO only), and distinctive Haitian paintings on the walls.

Since Le Kiosque had only just opened, we were the only occupied table on a Thursday evening around 7 pm. A few customers stopped in to pick up take out orders. Service could not have been friendlier. Menu prices are moderate, about $30 per person for an appetizer and entree - Le Kiosque is not a cheap "hole-in-the-wall". Portions are large and the food, service and setting make the restaurant an excellent addition to the local dining scene.

I can't imagine a better spot to try Haitian food for the first time. Once the word gets out, I am sure Le Kiosque's dining room will not be empty for long.

For more information on this restaurant, visit EthnicNJ.com

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Susie January 04, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Le Kiosque is the most unprofessional rest. we have ever visited & we will NEVER go back. Before ordering, we showed the waiter our $25 restaurant.com coupon purchased on 12/21/11-NINE DAYS BEFORE OUR VISIT. The waiter told us that LK no longer accepted such coupons-with no explanation. This seemed odd-especially since LK didn't have the courtesy/common sense to put a sign in their front window to warn customers of the conflict. The manager told us that LK had contacted rest.com on 12/1/11 to advise that they no longer wanted to be affiliated with them. While I brought to his attention the date of purchase, he said there was nothing he could do. We asked it they could at least give us something for our trouble such as 2 comp apps and he said he would have to check. Now if you're the manager, wouldn't you be able to make such a decision on your own? His inexperience was evident. Being a family restaurant, he had to consult with Daddy. He returned to advise that he could give us a 10% discount. Since 10% off a $70 bill is only $7, we felt this was unfair & walked out. We have since contacted rest.com to learn that LK did not follow proper protocol in severing their relationship.They're still getting free advertising from the website, they're still drawing in customers from the coupons & they have a contractual obligation to honor all coupons-even after they severe the relationship. LK is not going to last very long given their inexperience, incompetence & unprofessional manner.
Douglas Newman January 04, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Unfortunately recently encountered the same experience. At the end of an otherwise enjoyable dinner on 12/30, Le Kiosque's owner refused to honor a Restaurant.com voucher -- both at our table and a nearby table. He claimed he never enrolled with Restaurant.com, but that this marketing company would not stopping selling its LK vouchers, despite his repeated complaints. He suggested we contact Restaurant.com for a refund and offered us a 10% discount (vs. ~30% from our LK voucher). And, we suggested he clearly post a notice on the front door explaining LK does not honor Restaurant.com vouchers. We contacted Restaurant.com, which promptyly provided a new, any-restaurant voucher, and confirmed LK had signed its enrollment agreement. Because, there's regrettably no way to know if LK was duped by an aggressive Restaurant.com salesperson, its customers have been duped by LK, or it's suffering from buyer's remorse, we'll probably give it the benefit of the doubt, because it's a good addition to South Orange's dining options.
Carolyn Maynard-Parisi January 05, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Lee - I appreciate the comment but let's try to keep the tone civil. Thanks!
Susie January 06, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Doug, sorry this happened to you too. While restaurant.com is a stand-up company and gave us a credit too, it is apparent that Le Kiosque HAD a contract with them since LK told us "they are no longer accepting the coupons" -- which means at one point they were, in fact, affiliated. We will never go back.
Diane Cicchetti Nelson February 05, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Just enjoyed a meal at Le Kiosque. The service was friendly and attentive. The food was delicious and the portions were good-sized. The kids loved the chicken fingers and freshly squeezed mango juice. They even had live music the entire time. Very nice night.
Steve March 13, 2012 at 07:37 PM
I must say that as a customer I can feel Susie and Doug's pain, and I'm sorry that you folds had to go through that. But you should definitely take heed that Restaruant.com has been known to be misleading in their presentations to restaurant owners. I personally know a restaurant owner that felt completely duped and when he called to cancel just 2 days after signing up - after reaching out to a restaurant.com rep who explained to him how the coupon process really worked - he was told that everything would be cancelled immediately, yet he continued to deal with coupons being brought to his restaurant for several months afterwards. They kept giving him the run around as to how he had to cancel the contract. They eventually cancelled several months later. Perhaps Le Kiosk could have used a bit more tact and just accepted your coupons, but I am sure that they have had to deal a of frustration in dealing with restaurant.com, and as a new restaurant I know those coupons were really hurting them. All the blame should not be on Le Kiosk.
John Fonseca March 13, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Like Douglas said, they should have a sign up. They should also do whatever they need to do to completely sever the relationship with restaurant.com. That said, LK should think long term a little bit. A first time customer comes in with one of these coupons, which they obtained in good faith from restaurant.com. They try use it and are met with resistance without any prior knowledge they should expect a hard time. For me that'd be it. I'd never come back. We have a few restaurants in our normal dining schedule that we go to every week. If the normal check is $80 including tip, then that's at least $3000 a year. Is it really worth it to the owners of LK to keep their $25 in exchange for losing what could be a regular customer? I guess it is. Now that I read these comments they lost me before even setting foot in there.
EB April 06, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I visited LK several weeks ago and I was impressed! The restaurant looks beautiful and the cleanliness of it is just superb. I came on a sunday and they were very busy but that didn't take away from their friendliness, cleanliness and the taste of the food. The food was just amazing! I am going back in a few weeks and I look forward in having that experience again.
Fernande F June 01, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Le Kiosque, a beautifully decorated Haitian restaurant located in South Orange New Jersey, although the food is delicious, I will never return. Their prices are simply ridiculous, who ever heard of $75.00 for two plates of rice and vegetable with conch.
MAJAMBERE JEAN BAPTISTE August 16, 2012 at 06:37 AM
je veiux pour achete le kiosque de restaurant mon email c'est majajean2005@yahoo.fr


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