Jamaican Jerk: Smoke and Spice

At first glance, New Karibbean City is not at all inviting. You walk up a dingy staircase into a large bar/community center that's more likely than not empty. It's also more likely than not that you'll have to go back into the kitchen to find someone to take your order. Takeout recommended.

But the food, which they've served on and off for years and is now a consistent lunch offering, is pretty great, says 10foot5.

The jerk chicken has a smoky undercurrent and enough spice to set your mouth on fire. It tends to be a bit dry, though. Curry goat is excellent too, if salty. The only disappointment is the oxtails, which are acceptable but neither as tender nor as flavorful as they could be.

Other options are brown stew chicken, curry chicken, and escoviche fish (like a spicy Caribbean ceviche). Prices range from $6–$10 "depending on your luck," says 10foot5. "The food is well worth $10 so I don't mind." Portions are generous and come with rice and peas (beans), plantains, and festivals, a dense semi-sweet kind of doughnut that helps absorb the spiciness.

New Karibbean City [East Bay]
1408 Webster Street, Oakland
510-251-0769

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