The Jamaican Dutchy
You've got to check out this place. It's more than a street cart, it's a place, it's a destination. Not only does this gleaming stainless-steel Rolls Royce of streetcarts have a plasma screen mounted on the side, it even has a satellite dish on the roof.
Oh, and the food's good too.
It's on 51st Street, just east of Seventh Avenue, north side of the street. Looks to be a couple running it, making very fresh food. I'm no Jamaican food expert, but by the looks of it it seems very authentic.
Today at lunch I went conservative with the curry chicken. Flavorful, but not burning spicy -- my guess is that they save that note for the jerk chicken. It came with a nicely spiced (did I detect cinnamon?) rice and beans and not-overcooked assortment of vegetables. Also some sauteed sweet plaintains. $7 for the small, $10 for the large, but my small was more than enough food.
Also on the menu: oxtail, curry goat, escovitch, many fish dishes.
The only down side is that it was extremely slow. Gotta love them for the tender-loving care they were given the preparation of each customer's plate, but I can't go back too often when a fifteen-person line took more than a half hour to get through. I hope it's just startup pangs, because this one is a find. It's the mother of all street carts (sorry, hard to resist).
I had the fish soup and plantains yesterday, and went back for porridge this morning. The soup was very flavorful and full of potatoes, carrots, and croissant-shaped dumplings!! The plantains were super tasty and not too mushy. The porridge was a little cold. It had chunks of corn and was heavily spiced with cinnamon. I couldn’t eat it all, and it feels like a brick in my stomach right now.
Everyday they have a different soup and a different porridge. The porridge didn’t do it for me, but I’ll try some of the other soups and let you know.
The jerk chicken there is awesome, really smokey and tender. yes they are extremely slow but they do try to pack everything in your box nicely for you. Even if you see a small line with around 5 people, expect to wait like 10 minutes or something. Maybe the lines are shorter not around lunch time.
I second this recommendation! I had the jerk chicken today. It was excellently charred and spiced, with a good amount of lingering burn. Very, very tasty. The accompanying rice and peas were fine, I tasted a bit of coconut milk and perhaps cinnamon. The cabbage that came with it was unremarkable and a bit undercooked; the fried platain was perfect. On the whole, this place is definitely a winner. A great break from the boring midtown west lunch options.
Others have discovered the secret. When I arrived at around 1:15pm today, there were about 10 people in line. I waited probably 15-20 minutes before leaving with my food. Part of the problem seems to be two separate lines for ordering and packing/paying. While in some operations this might expedite the process, here, it only seems to slow things down. So, it's certainly not a quick grab & go transaction, but the food is definitely worth it. I look forward to sampling some of the other options the next time I have a bit of extra time for lunch.
Note: there were no menus at the cart today. I observed what others seemed to be ordering and made a quick decision. I saw curry chicken, jerk chicken, oxtails, beef patties (and maybe another type of patty)? I've seen menus there before that list a full range of choices. I'm not sure if they have all items every day or if the selection rotates. Anyone with more info on that score, please let us know.