After watching the episode of Bizzarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman on the Travel Network (following Anthony Bourdain) on his recent trip to Trinidad and Tobago, I wondered if there was even a place that would exist. Now it does in the form of Carribean Pan on Forest about a half block east of Webb Chapel. It is in a newly constructed building nestled in between a Golden Corral and a pediatric dentist office. My wife and I were actualyl ready to feast on some thai at Thai-riffic in the same shoppign center as Carribean Grill. Tehy had a sign that they were closed from Dec. 26th (today) until Jan. 2nd.
Back to to Andrew Zimmerman episode (minus the fresh iguana and souse) the food at Carribean Pan was identical to the food he mentioned on the episode. The doubles (two fried bread discs seasoned with tumeric (bara) are filled with a curried chickpea (garbanzo bean) mixture (channa)) were fresh out of the kitchen hot. The bara was perfectly fried not over cooked or greasy and the channa was blazing hot off the stove. The both combined to make a heavenly snack/meal you could every have. A curry dish (similar to the ones on the Indian buffets you sometimes pass up) with some fried bread, what could be better?
My wife and I ordered the lunch specials which come with two sides. There were three choices of lunch specials and five sides. The lunch specials included jerk chicken (two legs with jerk seasonings), curried bone-in chicken (I guess if you like the chicken pieces at First Chinese BBQ then you wont mind) about 2-3 legs hacked into indeterminable pieces stewed in a mild curry sauce, and stewed chicken (which from my understanding sounds like what it is) stewed dark meat chicken. The sides included: red beans and rice, sauteed cabbage (still retained crispness), curried potatoes, fried plaintains, and mixed vegetables with rice. We ordered the jerk chicken with red beans and rice and fried plaintains and curried bone-in chicken with curried potatoes and the cabbage.
My wife and I both agreed that we liked all the sides but the curried potatoes and cabbage were our favorites. Out of the lunch specials we were mixed (eventough I was sick with a head cold), I liked the jerk chicken and she like the curried chicken. The jerk chicken had enough seasoning to make the bird sing harmony in your mouth but after about a minute the pepper (scotch bonnet or habanero) came through and scalded the tounge and created a frantic search for your drink. Although the jerk chicken was a bit cold (being a cold day and about an hour or so after opening with probably no customers for the day) I could understand. I have had worse (that was my only complaint) at other restaurants in town. The jerk chicken seemed to be cooked in an oven (oven roasted??) instead of stewed like Elaine's. My wife like the curried bone-in chicken much better after her mouth was scalded by the intensity of the pepper on the jerk chicken. The curried chicken was much more mild than say the same dish at an Indian eatery. It was a nice changed if you like Indian food but sometimes don't want the pepper burn or intensity. We also got two drinks/soft drinks that are native to the islands in the carribean; one coconut water (the gentleman helping us choose what to order recommended it if I needed energy) and one ginger beer from Jamaica. The ginger beer was less intense than the one we got at Elaine's and the coconut water was great and not sugary or carbonated (still wating on the energy). I have tried Red Bull before and I prefer the coconut water by far over Red Bull. The coconut water had a mild sugar taste and a great coconut finish with a few small pieces of coconut jelly floated in. Although I was nearing full capacity and my wife was already there, I decided to ask her to have the gentleman tell us about his dessert selection. We ended up getting the coconut roll (it tastes very similar to a cinnamon roll with a sugary center about the size of a nickel filled with a brown sugar, cinnamon and coconut concoction).
To sum it all up we thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Carribean Pan and look forward to bringin some people back and spreading the word. Our meal with two lunch specials, two carribean drinks, a order of doubles, and a dessert was about $21. Not bad for all the food we tried. The gentleman who helped us was a bit soft spoken but he was happy to hear that we enjoyed our food, also glad I filled out a satisfaction survey, and excited that I might bring some folks back. If any of you are int eh area of the Cinemark on Webb Chapel and Forest I would hit this place before or after a movie there.
I have attached the website below if you would like to check out the menu.