As the name implies, Cheryl"s Global Soul is full of international dishes, but chef Cheryl Smith seems stuck in Scandinavia. Her 28-seat Prospect Heights restaurant, near the Brooklyn Public Library, looks like a sauna, with wooden boards overhead and on the walls. When the heat"s on, it can feel like a sauna, too. But when the heater was turned off, it was more like we were at fjord--so expect to add or remove layers frequently. And Smith"s cooking runs hot and cold. A self-taught chef, she worked her way up from dishwashing to cooking in the kitchens of Tocqueville and Match, spent some time as executive chef at Marion"s and hosted her own show (Melting Pot) on the Food Network. Her short menu references cultures from around the world--Thai curried mussels and Moroccan vegetable tagine, for example--and while there are occasional bursts of brilliance (the chicken wings have an amazing allspice kick), there were also a few duds: The cheese plate, from Cato Farms, was filled with unappetizing white and yellow slices. Most of the food was merely passable: The giant half barbecue chicken had an overly sweet, gloppy glaze, and the sautéed shrimp were accompanied by bland bok choy. Hey, Cheryl: less global, more soul!
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