Tuesday, April 08, 2008
It took me years to eat at Jamaican Jerk Hut on South Street. It's on a strange part of the South street just west of Broad, with a vacant space on one side and the Hut's own yard and picnic area on the other. The restaurant is small, only five tables are available inside, and one menu lines the wall next to the counter.
Notice the lack of prices, we did too, but hopefully they'll fix that soon. The menu has a variety of traditional Jamaican menu items, but also some BBQ and fresh juice.
Patties are savory Jamaican turnovers filled with spiced meat. I enjoyed the yolky pastry far more than the filling. It was spicy and flavorful, but was also too mushy to be delicious.
Jerk is a Jamaican seasoning blend often consisting of cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, and garlic, but primarily allspice and scotch bonnet peppers. This mixture is used as a dry-rub on various meats and fish. This plate is a Jerked chicken breast quarter with rice and peas, Jamaican cabbage, and a fried plantain. Scotch bonnet peppers are some of the hottest peppers on earth, and I have to admit my mouth was on fire and I was sweating trying to eat my dinner. I love all kinds of Mexican hot sauces, Siracha,and Chili garlic sauce, but the Jerk seasoning at the Jamaican Jerk Hut is some of the hottest stuff I've ever put in my mouth. In addition to the heat, I was confronted with small pieces of bone throughout the plate. In traditional fashion, the chicken is chopped up with a cleaver before serving. You can actually hear this occuring when you dine in, which is kind of cool. But it wasn't cool how I kept getting little pieces in my mouth. I thought the rice was a little on the dry side, but I loved the cabbage. It wasn't over cooked, and was mild enough to cool my mouth a little bit.
We also enjoyed the curry shrimp, served with the same accompaniments as the first entree. The shrimp were large and plentiful on this platter.
The spinach and groundnut stew is a savory dish of spinach, tomatoes, onions, and peppers, in an African style peanut sauce. It tastes strongly of peanuts and spinach, which are both things I like, but I'm just not sure I like them together in one dish. Everyone else liked it, so that should say something about the dish, or maybe it just says something about me?
The only thing I wouldn't suggest would be the potato curry roti. I've had roti before and enjoyed them, but the potato curry filling in this thin wheat flour bread was soggy and tasted like nothing despite the hint of yellow color.
Jamaican Jerk Hut
1436 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19146-1631
Phone: (215) 545-8644