ABOUT AND BEYOND
Monday - Saturday 11:00 A.M. - 9:00 P.M. $1 to $15
Deep in the heart of Spanish Town this establishment offers true Jamaican food plus a few other tidbits from the surrounding islands. Owner/chef Nevelli Monteith raised up on the island cooked in Houston at the Intercontinental Hotel before opening his own place. It is a small place decked out in green, yellow and black (colors of the Jamaican flag) but great food comes out of his tiny kitchen. Mismatch tables and chairs give an eclectic feel to it.
For appetizer the table shared both a Chicken and a Beef Patty. These savory meat-filled flaky pastries each had a distinctive flavor. Both were delicious and disappeared rapidly. I preferred the beef. Its filling contained overtones of empanada (sweet/savory) while the chicken had a curry overtone. Spice level was pretty much medium. Also brought to the table was Coco Bread. This white slightly sweet loaf reminded me of Portuguese sweet bread of which Hawaiian bread is the best known variant. However this bread proved a bit heartier.
On the weekend they have a buffet going but the group opted for table service. My sister ordered the Braised Ox Tail. She received a number of joints in deep rich gravy and a gigantic scoop of Peas and Rice (a Jamaican staple). The peas were actually beans and not English peas. This mild fork tender luscious meat proved to be the favorite of the table. Our cousin got Curry Goat Roti. A large bowl of saffron colored braised goat was accompanied by flat bread brought to the islands by subcontinent Indians. Early in the last century there was a large influx on this nationality that came to work the sugar cane. Roti along with curry was their contribution to island cooking. My baking friend went for the Jerk Pork. The smoked pork pieces covered in an incendiary dry rub of a number of spices and chilies (primarily Habanero and allspice) proved delicious. However you could only eat three or four pieces before you had to stop and let your mouth recover from the heat level. Whole lot of sweating going on. I ate the Curry Goat with the Rice and Peas. The bone in meat chopped into small pieces lent great flavor to the curry, which was a bit on the mild side. However the goat and the curry seemed to me to be a match made in heaven. I sucked every bone dry and count myself well satisfied. While basically a hole in the wall place the food elevates it beyond that
Arthur "The Bear" Hebert
Omnivorus and Loving It