hey all -- went to Cool Runnings in Cary after i saw the post on this board a couple days ago. I love jamaican/carribean cuisine - i must confess i don't know for sure how the grub is "supposed" to be, but the food seemed like passed-down family recipes, i think one family owns and runs the joint and everything, sauces, desserts, are home made -- anyway, went with a friend and had a nice little sampler. Went saturday afternoon, there was only one other couple in there, very casual, dining room - nothing special but nice i suppose, palm "awning" over register area to transport you to a jamiacan strip mall. we ordered the jerk pork, curry goat, and a beef patty. sides were fried plantains, coconut rice, garlic potatoes. Wanted the beef patty first (the waitress offered up this option) but that never happened. also, instead of jerk pork, she brought out jerk chickem -- so our particular server was a bit ditzy, but i was in a jamaican mind frame and didnt really care. she was really nice and accomodating otherwise. she let us keep the chicken and brought us out the pork as well. and i tell you what - i'm not one to order chicken out, just because, but this was the star of the show. just perfect. perfectly seasoned, PERFECTLY cooked - little crisp off the grill, juicy, tender- the chef's jerk sauce comes on the side and its truly sublime. sweet, spicy. my mouth was happy. i asked how they cooked the chicken, bc it was just so damn good -- he rubs the chicken, then rotisseries it. then he roughly chops it into its parts, rubs more seasoning and bakes it. then grills it to order. the jerk pork was also very nice. i'm not sure what cut, but i'm guessing it was a slow-cooked butt cut into chunks, seasoned and fried. really nice. The curry goat was good, but i didnt love this particular curry. the meat was still on the bones, really tender and a bit fatty - not a challenge to eat at all, fell right off the bone. lots of herbs in the sauce, motly thyme i think, (cooked) leafy texture. maybe i'm too into the sweeter thai curries and maybe i was expecting a sweeter sauce. wouldnt order it again personally, but it was still OK - probably just my own taste buds. The beef patty was really nice. they;ve got them ready-to-go in a warmer behind the counter. pastry was perfectly flaky and perfectly shaped, actually. the filling was nice and hot and wet as i expect from a beef patty, well seasoned, a bit spicy. they also have chicken patties and cocoa bread. tried some cocoa bread and i've had better, moister before, but this was still a nice sweet treat. was too stuffed to try and any desserts. oh, the sides - the plaintains left a bit to be desired, didnt seem incredibly right-out-of-the-fryer fresh, and they werent as ripe as i like mine. the cocnut rice was subtly flavored and nice. really would have enjoyed some beans with that but i'm not sure they have beans (do jamaicans dig the beans?). the garlic potatoes were soft, red potatoes with a minced garlic thing going on, maybve a little buttery. nothing speacial, but nice to dip in the jerk sauce. oh, they also have a scotch bonnet pepper sauce which isnt on the menu but i read a little blurb about it somewhere. ordered some of that to taste, expecting it to blow my face off, but it was pretty chill. medium heat, a bright and sweet sauce. reminiscent of vietnamese sriracha "rooster" sauce. nice to have on the side for dipping whatever in.
this guy needs to bottle that jerk sauce though. i feel like all the jerk sauces i've ever purchased in the store were too sweet, or too something. this was just right. there's other interesting things on the menu as well, they have Roti, Escoveitch (fried tilapia with a pickle sauce - sounds awesome) as mentioned in the previous post. jamiacan sodas as well. prices are fine, the lunch courses i think were 8 bucks each. they didnt charge us for the chicken, so all of this came to 21 bucks. fair enough!
i highly recommend, really nice food (the meats were all cooked right on - i think its a matter of whether you like the flavorings) at nice prices (there's a whole steamed snapper on the menu for 12 bucks or so). i encourage you to support these folks, family run business, seems like they take pride in what they do....i don;t think you'll be disappointed.