Restaurants & Bars Latin America & Caribbean

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Pappy | | Nov 27, 2006 04:57 PM

Just back from a cold rainy week at the Ritz-Carlton.

Ritz-Carlton restaurants were universally awful, as always. Their most upscale place, Jasmine's, was not very good, but okay, prices aside (and you must put prices aside). Their place in the hills across the street, White Witch, was terrible. I can only guess that the filet was cooked in a warehouse in New Jersey years ago, cryovacked with a scoop of the sickly, sweet wine sauce, frozen, shipped, and microwaved as ordered ($52 - As I said, don't even look at the prices. Just get another drink). I must add, the Ritz does make a decent cheeseburger with cheddar and sauteed mushrooms, which when eaten poolside, is quite enjoyable.

Sugar Mill, which is associated with another hotel I believe, is also across the street and up the hill. It is even worse than White Witch. Just an embarrasing interpretation of what the hotel industry must think Americans must want when they are paying $42/plate. Imagine some recent vocational culinary school student who flunked out trying to put twelve ingredients on each plate, regardless of whether or not they belong together.

There were two highlights.

Down the road a mile or two is a local shack called Scotchies, or at least as "local" and "shacky" as we or the hotel was willing to let us go. You buy jerk pork, chicken or fish from the woman in the window cut-out, and she gives you paper tickets to hand to the man behind the chopping board who serves you your meat wrapped in foil. Grab a paper plate, a plastic fork, a wad of napkins, and a little extra scotch bonnet salsa verde. Have a seat on an empty beer keg around a rough hewn wooden table shaded by a thatched umbrella and dig in. Three of us stuffed ourselves and washed it down with 6 Red Stripes (which are very, very good there - even thought they are no good here).

Next door to the Ritz in the Half Moon Shopping Center was an Indian restaurant called Akbar. Despite my suspicion, it was actually quite good. Nan and Poori and Kulcha done as well as at some of our better places in DC. Tikka Chicken nice and moist. Lamb properly spicy. And fresh okra was well seasoned and sauteed until cooked, but still toothsome. Delicious.

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