Oxkale’s co-owners, Kev and Ria Graham explained that Williamsburg “embraced Kokomo from the onset,” which is why they decided to open their second venture in the same neighborhood. Oxkale’s location is right around the corner from Kokomo, providing access to both restaurants for the team.
“Our first foray into the restaurant industry, Kokomo, was temporarily interrupted by the pandemic,” the Grahams told Greenpointers. “Its original menu was derived from the cultures that influenced Caribbean food, but the menu was significantly scaled back to launch during the pandemic. We never forgot our commitment to showcasing the diversity of our food.”
In an effort to make Oxkale and its food as authentic as possible, the Grahams traveled to Trinidad and Tobago for inspiration. “We envisioned a modern version of Caribbean food, drawing as inspiration our Trinidadian cuisine,” they told Greenpointers.
The Grahams were committed to this vision, and took Oxkale’s chef, Kadri Hajdarah, on a trip to Trinidad also. “Within days, we blown away by his ability to give life to our Oxkale vision — unique warm bowls, salads and our rendition of roti-gyro…bringing innovation to our Caribbean food and enabling Caribbean food to take its rightful place on the world culinary scene.”
The team’s travels are evident throughout the menu, showcasing casual Caribbean food that is undeniably authentic. Oxkale’s menu includes salads, warm bowls and gyrotis, which are the aforementioned combination of a roti and gyro. An example of a gyroti is a wrap with marinated lamb, sautéed kale, spinach, bok choy, crispy onions, and OK special sauce.
Oxkale also offers an option to build your own salad or bowl. The list of bases, mains, toppings, and dressings is extensive, making it possible to create a wide range of meals.
Base options include wild rice and peas, brown rice, or red quinoa, or a selection of salad greens. Customers can then add portobello mushrooms, coconut tofu, shrimp, jerk chicken, curry chicken, shredded pork, lamb, or oxtail and ribs. Toppings include a huge variety of items like pineapple salsa, curry hummus, plantain chips, grilled okra, and roasted scotch bonnet. The list of dressings and sauces is also varied with everything from creamy garlic to Trini curry to a champagne vinaigrette.
The Grahams explained that “most people associate Caribbean food with jerk chicken, curry goat and oxtails…the secret is that our food is actually heavily influenced by slavery out of Africa, along with colonization (French, Spanish, British, and Portuguese) and the migrants from India, China and the Middle East.”
“The world has not had this kind of access to the distinctiveness of Caribbean food,” the co-owners continued. “Where else can you get such a mix of Asian, African, Middle Eastern, and European ingredients all in one bowl or salad? Our “gyroti” is by far one of the most unique dishes ever created.”