My husband is off of work on Mondays. Traditionally, we go out chow-exploring, as leaving the house allows us to escape all of the DIY-projects we're always putting off.
Yesterday, we dropped in at Taste of the Island, a cafe in a strip center at 2231 34th St. South.
There's nothing fancy about this place, as you would expect from its strip center location. The ambiance is provided by Jamaica travel posters and some appropos music.
We ordered a fried saltfish fritter. The $1.50 starter was big enough for two of us to split as a starter. I could taste the fish, but it wasn't fishy, and although it was fried, it wasn't even remotely greasy or heavy.
When I saw oxtail on the menu, I didn't need to see what else was offered. I got the $6.00 small portion. A large portion is available for $8.00.
My husband ordered the roti & curried goat, at $5.50 (large at $7.50). I've only eaten goat twice previously, so I'm certainly no expert, but this was the first goat I've tried that was palatable. It was some bony cut that had been slow cooked to tender perfection. It was fork tender and delicious. Hubby mopped curry off of his plate until it was clean.
My oxtail was similarly well prepared. I'm a huge oxtail fan; I'd make it more often at home, but it's time consuming to prepare, and dreadfully rich and heavy. I unceremoniously gnawed the bones clean and sucked the marrow out of every joint.
The menu offerings include
Curried: chicken, conch, goat, and shrimp.
Jerk: chicken and pork
Also, the oxtail, brown stew chicken, pepper steak, fried, brown stew fish, steamed fish, ackee & saltfish dinner, BBQ beef ribs, burger, cheese burger, beef feet and vegetable dish.
One soup is available every day, which might be beef, gungo, peas, chicken, fish, manish water or beef feet.
A la carte items include Jamaican patties, coca bread, fried dumplings, fried saltfish fritters, hot wings, french fries, roti and conch fritters.
The highest price on the menu was $11 for the steamed fish dinner. The menu says that take out and catering are available.
This place is dangerously convenient to my house; it will be all too convenient to try every last thing on the menu. It's just a good thing that they don't deliver.