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Nov 1, 2011 08:53 PM

Lorenz Island Kuisine

My DC and I went there on sunday.

The good: the johnny cakes were excellent. Crisp, well fried, and slightly sweet. They also have cold, strong ginger beer that was very tasty. The boiled dumplings were good as well, with a nice chew to them.

The bad: Both of the entrees were fairly dreadful. The oxtail beef was a. tiny (I know tiny entree complaints often get dismissed as the cheesecake factory problem, but our portion seriously was. 4 small rounds the size of a large coin, and oxtail has a fair amount of bone). However, the small portion could have been over looked if it weren't for b. the oxtail being lukewarm, and ridiculously tough

The chicken curry was also mediocre. Lukewarm as well, and mostly bone. I adore the flavour of bone-in chicken, but some meat'd be nice too.

The meh: the side of rice and cabbage were ok. Nothing to write home about, but they sufficed as sides.

Shame, as the menu looked fantastic, and I really wanted to love this place.

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  1. I ate here over the summer, and thought it was pretty good. We also liked the johnny cakes. Had the ackee and saltfish, which I liked (although this was my first time trying ackee, and I didn't love the texture). Callaloo was quite good, though a bit too salty. Jerk chicken was very spicy. Fried plantains were excellent, some of the best I've had in Boston.

    When I was there, service was very friendly and accommodating.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Dave MP

      All ackee here is canned and thus not very good. The fresh stuff is quite tasty and is a bit reminiscent of scrambled eggs.

      1. re: StriperGuy

        What I had was indeed quite reminiscent of scrambled eggs. I could probably get used to it. Hopefully will get to try the fresh stuff sometime - is it never available in MA?

        1. re: Dave MP

          Stuff is quite poisonous if not ripened correctly. Here is some more info on the issue:

          1. re: Dave MP

            Fresh Ackee is a tough find, even in cities with large Jamaican communities. I used to get them occasionally in South Florida. Canned ackee if you buy the right brand, can be good though. Especially if the Saltfish and Provisions are prepared well.

            Might have to take a trip down to JA to ensure you are eating the Fresh kind.

        2. re: Dave MP

          The service was friendly, I agree. The place was comfortable to sit in.

        3. I had better luck here this summer when I reviewed it for The Phoenix: house-made Jamaican patties, curry goat, jerk chicken, ackee and saltfish, callaloo, johnnycake, the owner's mom's Jamaican fruitcake. Less impressed with the fried chicken (not recently fried) and the boiled dumpling (bland). Quite liked it overall.

          1. MattH, have you tried this place, if so, could you chime in? :)

            8 Replies
            1. re: Prav

              I have been almost exclusively for Breakfast and think it is excellent. Ackee and Saltfish, Cornmeal Porridge, Johnny Cakes and Green Banana which were all done properly. Also stopped off once for some Soup and the Mannish Water was also very good. So it is surprising to hear the Dinner meals were so poor.

              I also got my X-Mas/Winter Pudding (Rum Cake) from there last year and everyone enjoyed it and I plan on ordering from them again this year. Sounds like I should also make a stop off for dinner.

              1. re: Matt H

                I'd be surprised if I could tell fresh ackee from canned when it's prepared in the saltfish format. I spent a summer in a Blue Mountain village where all we ate was canned ackee and saltfish every morning, and I found it every bit as delicious as the fresh stuff down at the beach. Lorenz does a superb job of this dish where everything is nicely integrated and seasoned well.

                Unfortunately, my single experience with the curry somewhat reflects the OPs. Goat curry had plenty of bones, some from which to suck marrow which is great, but lots of very tough meat and fat and grisly gristle suggestive of a boiling rushjob. The curry itself was tasty, and pretty rich as Slim nicely describes in his Phoenix piece referenced above, but I found a few healthy shakes of a tangy Jamaican hot sauce necessary.

                The patties are spectacularly greazy and delicious. Their fried stuff in general is the scrumz, but it ain't dainty or without a ton of grease. I can see how if one got an old batch (as Slim apparently did) it'd be the nast. But I like the option of fried chicken snax for a buck a throw, and the bake and saltfish off the snack menu is probably my favourite.

                Jerk chicken gives the itch a gentle scratch - I prefer sauce on the side (which is very good), but even still the chicken doesn't have a whole lotta that crispy skin goodness you might be jonesin for. But it's a nicely cooked and juicy bird, aggressively rubbed.

                Matt, I will definitely be back for porridge and mannish water per your suggestion, and I also need to try the rotis. But so far, this is fairly reminiscent of a decent place back home .... Toronto, that is.

                    1. re: Nab

                      Nab, did you happen to ask where they get their patties from by any chance? or do they make them in house? From your picture they look like exactly the type of patty I love eating, thin pastry and a healthy portion of meat. For a Toronto reference they look almost exactly like a Michidean Patty.

                      1. re: Matt H

                        Matt, they are very much like Michidean patties. I have not asked them about the source of their patties, but MC Slim JB tells us above that they are in fact house-made, which I find impressive.

                        1. re: Nab

                          That is impressive. I completely missed MC Slim JB's note on the Patties. Feel like I've missed out just viewing this place as a Breakfast spot, need to visit to try out the Patties and hopefully some dinner items.

                          1. re: Nab

                            So I finally got a chance to try the Patties at Lorenz today and I must say really enjoyed them. Very light on the pastry, flaky but enough chew to it that it doesnt all flake apart everywhere. The filling was also heavily seasoned and generous enough. Only complaint would be the lack of spice.

                            This is only my first try, but Id take them over a Lenny's Patty from what I see.

                            A few weeks back I stopped by for Ackee and Saltfist (As good as ever) and Manninsh Water. Again the Mannish Water might be my favorite Jamaican Soup that anyone has in the city, they really do an excellent job of it.