Jamaican in Hartford area
OK, I know there's a sizable Jamaican population in Hartford, so correspondingly there must be good Caribbean/Jamaican food somewhere. I don't have much experience with Jamaican food, though, and would appreciate help finding some good places and menu items to start with. I was hoping someone on the Chowhound board could be of assistance!
I'm also willing to travel a way (say 30-45 min.), so recs don't have to be limited to the Hfd area.
Island Cuisine on Farmington Avenue across from the Mark Twain House is excellent. It's a takeout only place run by a lovely Jamaican woman. Jerk chicken, which is excellent here, is the best known Jamaican dish and a good place to start. Beef patties (pastries) are a popular appetizer. I really like the pepper steak and the curried goat. If feeling a little adventurous, you can try the oxtail stew, which is tasty and a favorite of the regulars. Dishes are served with rice and beans and veggies (steamed, spiced cabbage and carrots). The staff have strong accents and use some relatively unfamiliar lingo (e.g., gravy is sauce as in the Sopranos). For some reason, the place seems to attract boisterous teenagers. Last time I was there, for reasons I couldn't discern, a woman threatened the owner with violence.
Albany Ave. is the place to go, there's 2 places I'd recommened:
My favorites is McGreggors (1137 Albany Ave. ) which is located in a converted gas station. The jerk is all good. I particularly like the chicken in sauce (ask for lots of extra suace over the rice) and the jerk pork. They're quite friendly.
Also excellent is Scotts Jamaican Bakery 1344 Albany Ave. for meat pies.
After you've worked the street try Park St. for hispanic/Puerto Rican etc :)
I had a fantastic lunch the other day in Bloomfield. I was working in the area and spotted a Jamaican place in a strip mall (Copaco Plaza on Rt. 218, where Super Stop & Shop is). It was called Pepper's Jamaican Bakery. While I can't vouch for many dishes there, their beef patties, coco bread and fried chicken were all excellent and cheap, a rare combination. The place seemed to be pretty crowded at lunch time, which is always a good sign.