Best Jamaican, Hold the Jerk

A recent Boston Globe article on weekly Jamaican buffet dinners at a local farm got hounds salivating. But while the dinners sound terrific, Jamaican Matt H complains that the jerk isn't authentic-sounding enough for his taste: "You ideally need to cook with pimento wood or leaves, not just the allspice seasoning (which is standard)." Most restaurants, says Matt H, cheat by using a rub made with allspice (the berry of the pimento tree), and cooking over charcoal.

So where to get authentic Jamaican jerk? No place in Boston, says Matt H. "Fortunately, as you know Jamaican food extends so much further than jerk and to give Boston credit there are places that make certain dishes that are prepared exceptionally and traditionally." His well-curated favorites:

• Brown stew chicken, curried goat, and escoveitch fish (it's like ceviche) at Flames.

• Tripe and bean stew, tough to find stateside, is best ordered at Pepper Pot Restaurant & Catering.

• Only One Jamaican Restaurant does the finest oxtail in town.

• And Lenny's Tropical Bakery is the "best (and probably only) Jamaican bakery in the area."

Flames Restaurant II [Jamaica Plain]
746 Huntington Avenue, Boston
617-734-1911

Pepper Pot Restaurant & Catering [Roxbury]
208 Dudley Street, Boston
617-445-4409

Only One Jamaican Restaurant [Dorchester]
160 Norfolk Street, Boston
617-822-0444

Lenny's Tropical Bakery [Dorchester]
1195 Blue Hill Avenue, Boston
617-296-2587

Discuss: Jamaican buffet – Weekly! On a farm!

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