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Best Jamaican/Caribbean in D.C. area...?

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I drive almost an hour out of my way to get the jerk chicken sandwich at the Tropicana on Georgia Ave, up near Walter Reed, and I don't mind the haul.

I don't know Jamaican that well, haven't been there. So I'm wondering if what I'm sweating is just "good" and I'm missing out on somewhere mind blowing.

I hear the staff and management of Jamaican places change frequently. The Tropicanas around the city/area apparently vary in quality as well. An older thread posed the same question, but its probably dated.

So right now, what's the jamaican best in the city/area?

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  1. I'm checking out Pimento Grill in SE tomorrow. Negril popped my cherry, but I don't know if it competes. Am I wrong?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Russel Shank

      Negril can't compete at all.

      At Pimento Grill get the brown stew or the curry. haven't tried the jerk yet. If you read my previous post, you know they will let you sample some if you show curiosity. The jerk is cooked to order (or maybe finished to order is more correct) , so I don't think you can sample that.

      The chicken at Just Jerk in Lanham is sublime. Carryout only. Always order dark meat, spicy.

      Jamaica, Jamaica in Herndon is all-around very good.

      Caribbean Grill in Arlington is really more Cuban than Jamaican.

      Although this is another subject: if you are interested in Caribbean, go to Rita's on Georgia Ave. in the district and get the polori with pickled tamarind sauce. Outrageous. Very powerful stuff, that sauce. And this is my favorite place in DC for Sorrel to drink. Trini food.

      1. re: Steve

        couple questions...
        1. pickled tamarind sauce? Is it super bitter and astringent, or sugared up like a pad thai sauce?

        2. Is Rita's that place on Georgia, left side of the road when heading North, near a Reggae record store.. really beat up yellowed sign with a budget small silhouette of a goat heat and maybe a rasta guy or something?

        3. Is Sorrel the proper name of the fruit punch in most Jamaican joints, or another drink? I love the fruit punch, but am allergic to guava, so I kind of roll the dice and sip it slowly.

        Thanks

        1. re: Russel Shank

          Pickled tamarind sauce = sour and spicy. Not sweet.

          Rita's is indeed on the left as you are heading up Georgia. I believe the nearest cross street is Monroe. From the ourtside it mightt look like a pure carry-out, but there is a small dining room inside.

          Polori = plain fritters. Nothing inside. I believe the dough is made with chick pea flour, so it has a distinct taste, but these are puffs, not at all like felafel which are dense.

          Sorrel isn't made with guava, it is a kinda clear red fruit drink. They also make a peanut 'milk shake' (no ice cream) which is nice, but not great.

    2. Jamaica Jamaica in Herndon. Caribbean Grill in N. Arlington.

      1. Caribbean Feast in Rockville has always been excellent in my book.