One of the perks of my job - that of a case manager - is that I get to spend a lot of time driving to the far and outer reaches of Queens, which, in turn, gives me the opportunity to explore the dark, hidden, out-of-the-way corners, alleys, crawlspaces and byways of the borough. Sometimes, although not always, that means discovering some unforseen good chow as well. Today, driving from one appointment to another in the south Jamaica hood known as Rochdale Village, I got lucky.
The southern stretch of Farmer's Boulevard can be a no-man's land for good chow, with some storefront takeout Chinese and the occasional fast food joint or deli here or there. I spied Kuntry Bickle - the name sounding like some strange hybrid of West Indian and Yiddish - on a corner near 139th or so. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, with no neighboring Jamaican joints for competition, my expectations for KB were admittedly, low. For one, the place was empty, bone dry, in the middle of the day, lunch rush so to speak.
I ordered the small-sized jerk chicken with peas and rice, something I've had all over the city in neighborhoods such as Bed Stuy, Crown Heights, Jamaica, etc. Some ginger beer from the fridge. Took it to my car, drove to a side street. To my surprise, the chicken, although on the dry side, was far better, more flavorful, and far less greasy than I would have expected. The skin was particularly good, with a delicious smoky taste, and the meat was falling off the bone tender in parts. The rice and peas, a side that usually comes with its own traveling patina of floating grease in a lot of places, was done up fluffy and with love.
Now, I'm not suggesting that people hop in their cars, or, worse, change multiple trains and buses to make it out to Kuntry Bickle. It's hardly what a great many people on this site would call a "destination place." But, if you're in the area, say, hailing a jet on the JFK tarmac and getting hungry, you could do far worse. KB is your standard Jamaican diner, serving up a great many fish dishes, sides, D&G sodas, and bakery items.
I love finding out-of-the-way places that yield surprisingly good results. It reaffirms my desire to keep pounding those highways, side streets and alleys in search of good chow.
138-30A Farmer's Blvd
Rochdale, NY 11434