Cheap Eats - Tassa Roti Shop: A taste of Trinidad

Marietta eatery a home for Caribbean expats

The sweet aroma of curry, upbeat island music and smiling staff greet you as you walk into the little house that is Tassa Roti Shop (224 Powers Ferry Road, Marietta, 770-977-3136, www.tassarotishop.com). The eatery has made a name for itself among homesick expatriates and adventurous eaters as one of the best places to go for the uniquely spiced cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago (also known as TnT), a Caribbean republic comprised of 23 islands.

True to its name, the restaurant offers roti, a flaky, pancakelike bread of Indian descent filled with curried vegetables or meat. Tassa only serves meat versions – standouts being the boneless chicken ($6) mixed with chickpeas and potatoes or the goat ($7) – wrapped in your choice of dhalpuri roti (roti dough stuffed with ground yellow split peas and spices) or paratha roti (a roti made with a ghee, a clarified butter, and widely referred to as a "buss-up-shut" in Trinidad). The rest of the menu offers hearty specialties such as tender oxtails ($8.50) and "Brown Stew Fish," ($10) a thick chunk of flaky kingfish smothered in brown sauce and julienned carrots. Each platter is more than enough food, as it comes with a mound of bean and pea-studded rice, custardy sweet plantains and crunchy, green cabbage salad.

Street-food fanatics will love the "doubles" ($1.50), a sandwich made of two fried baras (flat breads) filled with channa (curried chickpeas) and commonly eaten for breakfast or as a late-night snack. If you're having trouble deciding on what to order, the lunch buffet ($6.99 during the week and $7.49 on weekends) is an ideal way to get acquainted with the variety of dishes and flavors. But, regardless of what you eat, do not miss the homemade sauces located on the top shelf of the buffet bar. The hot sauce made with a colorful assortment of tangy scotch bonnet peppers explodes like a blast of TnT in every bite.

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