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Which Caribbean restaurant to take hubby for date?

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My husband and I are heading to Jamaica for the 1st time, I thought it would be fun to suprise him with a caribbean date Friday night to get us ready. We are both in our 20's , adventurous eaters, and like hole in the wall places. I am considering Elaine's Kitchen but am weary of the area on a Friday night, has anyone been there on a Friday night? The other choices I'm considering are Taste of the Islands, Texas Caribbean Foods, and Scarlet Ibis, however Elaines for some reason seems like the best.
Also, does anyone know about the drink policy at any of these places (are any BYOB or serve Red Stripe?) I look forward to hearing suggestions and any ideas for add ons to this date (places for Jamaican cocktails etc.!) Thanks in advance for your help!

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  1. Well I have had three out of the four....and I haven't ever heard anything about Texas Carribean Foods.

    Elaine's is definitely a hole in the wall and would be a bit unsafe on Friday night. I would not be phased by it all but others might. As for the menu the curried oxtails and jerk chicken are quite good and the sides are all good at Elaine's. The jerk chicken is prepared in adiffent way than other as it has more of a jerk bbq sauce on it and tends to get to sweet for my liking but still worth it. It does however pack a whallop with the spice and it is right up my alley. Don't expect Elaine's to keep it easy on the spice for the non-Jamaicans. The customers are real friendly, the staff well versed on the menu and sometimes a bit rude to keep the peace/order of hungry customers. On a recent visit I ran into a guy from Cleveland who visits every time he is in town....a sign of the quality of the food.

    1912 Martin Luther King Blvd (Next to the old Forest Theater at the exit off 175 and MLK Blvd)
    Dallas, TX 75215
    214-565-1008

    Scarlet Ibis I recently tried at lunch and there was no one in the place. It used to be Carribean Pan on Forest just east of Webb Chapel. I thought the food was a bit better when they had it in the steam trays and you could see what you were getting. When I went for lunch I tried the Jerk Chicken sandwhich and it was okay not as good as the jerk chicken that I had previously. I also got an appetizer of phlourie and they were not worth it and an order of doubles with channa masala (curried garbanzo beans). The doubles was better but still needs work. The doubles bread and phlourie are the same thing a curried dough ball that is fried. My wife got the blackened fish and it was good but was heavy handed on the salt. Her order of steamed veggies was excellent though. My rice and peas was good except some of the peas were still a bit crunchy and needed to be cooked a bit longer or less (I have never cooked pidgeon peas). This is probably the better of the two Jamaican style in North Dallas but still needs some work.

    http://www.caribpan.com/

    Taste of the Islands is going to be more Guyana and Trinadad style of Caribbean food than found in Jamaica. I went on a Friday night and quite enjoyed the atmosphere here the best. It seems like everyone coming in the place had a smile on their face and really enjoys the food. My wife and I asked everyone picking up to go orders and also dining what they liked and what we should get. I don't remember exactly what we got (chicken curry?) and some other dish but I do remember liking the beef patty thier and the table side hotsauce that is made in house. We washed it down with a ginger beer. Also the music was quite good as they had a DJ that I believe just likes to hang out there. I sat and played dominoes with the DJ and another customer for about 2 hours. Overall relaxing place (very home like) and well worth the drive for the food. It probably won't be anything like Jamaican food but great food nonetheless.

    http://www.tasteoftheislands.net/

    You can also try out Carribean Grill on Forest Lane and Webb Chapel. I would call before you go to ask and see if they are having a dancehall night (they won't have any food that night). That place is probably more like the food you will get in Jamaica , but is second behind Scarlet Ibis.

    3068 Forest Ln #111
    Farmers Branch, TX 75234
    972-241-9113

    If Elaine's was in a safer area I would definitely suggest it out of all the places, perhaps you can go at lunch one day as the DPD likes to frequent the place. But for the overall atmosphere and great food (although not Jamaican) Taste of the Islands would get my nod even beating Elaine's. I would call each on to verify their drinking policies!

    2 Replies
    1. re: LewisvilleHounder

      Thank you so much for all the info! I think I will drive by Elaine's for lunch this week with a friend to get a feel for the place and see if we would be comfortable going there at night (my hubby is from Caracas which isn't considered one of the safest places itself!) Taste of the Islands definetly seems to have the atmosphere I'm looking for. Thank you again for keeping me so well informed!

      1. re: missylee

        I'll second Carribean Grill. There food is good and comes in large portions. Last time I was there they still served food on a Friday night and had live reggae music. It wasn't till later that they moved tables to open up a dance area.

    2. I have been to Taste of the Islands and love it LOTS!!! Only been there for lunch though (curried goat and roti...mmmm)!!!

      I have always wanted to get myself to the Carribean Grill...I'll get there someday.

      Anu

      6 Replies
      1. re: anupama

        I looked at the website online for Taste of the Tropics and was wondering if the restaurant serves buffet/ cafeteria style at night or just at lunch? And also if they have any sort of music?

        1. re: missylee

          They serve buffet just at lunch on Thursday and Fridays. I would pick off the menu anyway that way you know it is fresh. Rotis would be thing thing to beat here. Saturday is when you get the real treats though with Salted Codfish and Bakes, Black Pudding, Doubles, etc. They have some kind of music going everytime I am there. If not you could ask them to put something on and they wouldn't mind.

          Also for a treat afterwards try out Cassis on the corner diagonal to taste of the Islands for a great drink and to cool down your mouth. The owner is very friendly also!

          1. re: LewisvilleHounder

            Awesome, I'm not a big fan of buffets! I know at least one of us will get jerk chicken, and at least one of our appetizers will be meat patties. Any other "must haves" as far as another entree and appetizer? I see that the entrees are served w/ rice or roti so I guess we'll order one of each.

            1. re: missylee

              oxtail stew is decent, i kinda like the goat curry although it's nothing unusual...the food there is pretty simple really, just good and cheap and plentiful. although the meat patties are something i pick up to take home just as a snack sometimes. plus i do believe they play music friday nights.

              1. re: luniz

                I want to thank everyone for their help! We started of the date with some frozen cocktails and reggae music at home, then we went to Taste of the Islands. We started with the meat patties (very tasty, we ate them with the wonderful hot sauce that was on the table) and a couple of Red Stripes. We also ordered the oxtail stew (good), jerk chicken (loved it, just the right amount of spice, very tender) and stewed chicken (great sauce.) Our entrees were served with cabbage (yummy) and rice w/ pigeon peas (a little too spicy for me but good.) The ambiance was that of a little restaurant on the islands. The owners were super nice and helpful and we ended up talking and making friends with some other customers from Jamaica and going out for drinks afterward. All in all it was a great date with good food and a perfect casual/fun ambiance.

                1. re: missylee

                  Thanks for the report back. Always like to hear the follow up report!

      2. I'm new to Chowhound but wish I saw this sooner. There is an EXCELLENT Jamaican restaurant in Arlington. It's called Jamaica Gates Caribbean Cuisine. I've become a regular since they opened this summer. The food is authentic, their drinks are fabulous and they have live music on the weekends. They have a Jazz band that plays Friday nights until midnight I think and Saturday nights they have a Reggae band playing until midnight. Its a great date night place, my husband and I love to go eat and listen to the music, you can even bring kids. They are only open Thursday to Sunday.
        If anyone is interested their address is 1020 W. Arkansas Ln 76013 (they're at teh corner of Cooper and Arkansas). As you can see i'm a huge fan, but seriously the food is AWESOME and it has a great atmosphere, I definitely recommend it.