Restaurants & Bars

Washington DC & Baltimore

The Jerk Pit (College Park)


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The Jerk Pit (College Park)

casu marzu | Feb 1, 2005 12:48 PM

Mandalay, The Best Restaurant in College Park, closed up shop and moved to Silver Spring in October of last year, leaving behind some rather slim pickings for a new contender. The Food Factory, Pita Plus, and Berwyn Cafe are all decent options, but none was quite up there with Mandalay.

But nature abhors a vaccuum, and so we may have a new winner. Open just three weeks, the Jerk Pit, located in the accursed former location of Taco Fiesta, Casa Fiesta, and J.R.'s Carribean, looks really solid. They've finally painted over the last stale remnants of the Taco Fiesta decor, put in new floors, nice bamboo placemats and few other touches. But the main standout is the food. If you're afraid that the menu looks too much like the decent but warmed-over fare of the previous tenant (J.R.'s), you should know that the cooking now is far more assured than that. As the name implies, they specialize in jerk. Jerk chicken, jerk pork, and escoveitch fish have all been first-rate. The side of rice and beans is excellent. A side salad is completely perfunctory -- I'm not sure why they even bothered with this -- but that's the only false note I've encountered. The menu is reported to be expanding.

Note that this is a place just getting off the ground, and the new owner/chef seems to do just about everything with very little help, so you may have a really looooong wait for the time being. Just relax and listen to the reggae.

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