This formal report on Dougie's Jamaican Cuisine on Avenue L in Canarsie Brooklyn is a follow-up on an earlier, much more hastily assembled write-up of our food explorations in Canarsie (that initial thread is here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/822061).
Read on below for the gritty details of our meal at Dougie's.
What was once J&S Seafood and Pasta House, a no-frills family restaurant where my girlfriends and I worked part-time in high school packing pizza and pasta deliveries, is now Dougie’s Jamaican Cuisine.
Drawn by nostalgia, curiosity and hungry stomachs, my friend and I decided to stop for lunch. Dougie’s was completely empty when we entered that Saturday afternoon. The women behind the counter barely cracked smiles when we placed our order, but they piled our food high in two sturdy cardboard containers.
The interior of the restaurant was still unpretentious and unadorned, just as I remembered it. The same wood panels and mirrors, in which I once self-consciously groomed my 16-year-old self, surrounded us as we ate our jerk chicken and ackee and saltfish.
The jerk sauce was sweet, spicy and well balanced. The heat from the peppers lingered in the back of my throat without heating up my mouth. The chicken itself was a bit dry, but I enjoyed every bite.
Flecked with black pepper and finely diced onion, the salted cod was mildly fishy and light, while the ackee had a silken texture. Our only complaint: The traditional side of dumplings or plantains was unavailable, so we had to double up on portions of mildly sweet and coconut-y rice and red beans.
Our side of house-pickled vegetables—slices of scotch bonnet peppers, carrots, onions and whole peppercorns bobbing in a plastic cup filled with vinegar—packed a bold bite.
Both meals were washed down with tangy, delicious bottles of Ting, a Jamaican grapefruit soda that doubles as a palate cleanser.
At first we had the restaurant to ourselves, but around 4:00 p.m., a crowd started forming. It was only then that I noticed every order seemed to include fried chicken—two words that always hum when spoken, like music to my ears. Had we gone wrong and missed the best dish on Dougie’s menu?
The owner of Dougie’s confirmed that the fried chicken is his favorite dish. What sets it apart? The spicy red sauce served as its accompaniment.
(Has anyone tried it???)
Although it’s not considered a primary food destination, Canarsie was worth the trip. In fact, it’s worth another trip back, for sure. There’s an order of Dougie’s fried chicken with my name on it.
(Photos at: http://www.cityspoonful.com/dougies-j...)
Dougie's Jamaican Cuisine
9604 Avenue L, Brooklyn, NY 11236