Made a stop by JF in Lynn for the first time because of the positive reviews on CHOW and Jamaicans.com (Best of Boston) Some hits and misses overall.
Between my wife and I we ordered Cow Foot, Oxtail, Pea Soup and homemade Carrot Juice and Ginger Beer.
Oxtail: When we opened the container everything looked great as far as the preparation was concerned but once biting in we were both underwhelmed by the (lack of) flavor. The Oxtail was cooked perfectly as in it was soft texturally with a good amount of marrow left in the bones. THe issue was that the flavor was so toned/dumbed down that it really missed the mark. The entire time I could not help myself from thinking a little bit more seasoning and maybe a dash of homemade or even bottled Jerk would have gone a long way to making this a better dish.
Rice and Peas: Once again, appearance wise and texture wise cooked well. Rice was not grainy and the Peas had a nice snap to them without being hard. The issue again though was the seasoning. Too tame on the Thyme, Coconut milk and Scotch Bonnet (actually I couldnt taste any scotch bonnet at all)
Now the positive:
Pea Soup: Excellent Soup, wonderful spicy and salty balance. Went down so fast I could have had another 2 cups. Good Amount of provisions cooked in as well that tasted very fresh and well prepared. Just a very good soup to start the meal.
Homemade Ginger Beer and Carrot Juice: The owners/chef know how to make their juices very traditional. The Ginger Beer was not toned down in the least bit with a good spicy bite to it that I love. Carrot Juice was also very good with the perfect amount of sweetness.
And the best of last:
Cow Foot: All I have to say is WOW. This dish took me back to my childhood the moment I took my first bite. Fatty, Gelatinous and Oozing with Marrow is the exact way this dish should be prepared and they nailed it on the head. The Flavor was perfect, not too spicy (Cow Foot should never be too hot) and salty in a good way, with the West Indian Thyme flavor bursting through. I have not had a Cow Foot preparation this good since eating it in Jamaica, no restaurant has done it the same justice in NYC, Miami, Toronto, anywhere. This is one of my favorite dishes to indulge in when done right and I am already plotting my next trip to Lynn for a follow up.
Overall, very nice people, but confusing overall. I cant understand how you do so well at a difficult dish like Cow Foot, but miss the mark in other areas. You can tell they can cook very well, but are holding back for whatever reason. A little more aggressive seasoning and the Boston area would have one of the better Jamaican Restaurants around. I will return and give them another shot on the other dishes, but the CF will keep me coming back over and over again.