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Restaurants & Bars 3

Jamaica Cafe, Long Beach

SoCalMuncher | Feb 2, 2007 10:10 AM

Location: NE corner of Willow and Long Beach Bl in strip mall.
Hours: Sun-Tue 11-6, Wed-Sat 11-8
Ambiance: None
Seating: Room for about 30, at tables, or barstool tables, wrapped around columns.

Curried goat, which came with choice of 3 side dishes from a list of about 8 (plantains, red beans & rice, yams) - 11.95
2 meat patties (they also carry chicken and I think, vegetable - selection varies, day-to-day) ?$

Cut into 3/4 inch pieces, the curry goat was very good: flavorful and tender, and not overpowered by the strong, high-masala West Indian curry. The only thing, like most goat, was some wickedly fearsome bone fragments. You will be using your fingers in order to get at all of the meat.
The plantains were fried pretty darkly, which is the way that I like them, though I usually prefer them to be sweeter. A bit of salt fixed most of that, though.
The red beans and rice and the yams were good: nothing wrong with them, but nothing spectacular.
Being of West Indian descent, a meal like this absolutely requires pepper sauce, but they only had the Grace brand of habanero/vinegar sauce, which I don't find to be hot or flavorful. I asked if they had anything hotter and they provided me with a fresh-diced habanero.

I took the patties home because: 1) too full to eat anymore 2) that's where my Matouk's pepper sauce is :)
The patties were as good as any I've bought on the west coast, but not as spicy and flavorful as I've made or tasted at some east coast places. Of course, a good pepper sauce goes a long way towards fixing that, too.

Unpretentious and straight-forward, the flavors remind me of my aunts' (plural) cooking, and sentimentally, only comes behind Carribbean Treehouse because I can't get roti, here.
I highly recommend it and it will be on my frequent rotation of eat-out places. My family doesn't make jerk, but I will probably get around to tasting theirs, eventually, if I can manage to not order the goat again.

P.S. You order from a menu at the counter and they bring the food to your table.

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