The lunchtime line at Caribbean Kitchen is getting nowhere--not through any fault of the service, but because customers are stopping up front to study a jumbo wall menu propped behind the bar. Someone has to come out from behind the counter in the back to get the traffic to move along to the order window. Still, the atmosphere is much improved from the Kitchen's old Liberty Street digs--from a dim hole in the wall to a bright, colorful hole in the wall. There are tables and chairs, and the floor is checkerboarded with vivid sodium-yellow tiles.
Food comes in styrofoam boxes, eat-in or carry-out. The brown stew chicken ($6.75) is so tender--meat and soft gristle both yield to a plastic fork--that I try a gnaw at the drumstick bone. It snaps gently, and spicy, marrowy juice comes out, like a sip of chicken soup. My companion cannot stop raving about his lake trout ($6, available grilled or fried), peppery and swimming in grilled onions. I fork up some plantains, some greens; I let the chicken sauce soak into the peas and rice. With the yellow floor, it's like eating lunch inside a huge, scrupulously clean street lamp. This is calming somehow. The takeout crowd streams through, and we keep eating, without haste.