1800 Bank St.
Signature Drink: Jamaican Mama ($7)
Signature Dish: Jerk Chicken ($12.25)
Dinner & drinks for 2: $40
Island Jerk is a tiny restaurant tucked away in a strip mall in Ottawa South with a homey feel and a television blaring the news in the corner.
A friendly staff member calls in a charming West Indian accent for us to sit anywhere.
The menu is eclectic: curried goat, oxtail stew, cowskin (only on Thursdays) and cowfoot (only on Fridays).
To curb our grumbling stomachs, we ordered the Spicy Jamaican-style beef patties ($1.25) and a Jamaican fritter called a Festival ($1.25), a cakey sort of hushpuppy.
We washed these bites down with a Jamaican Mama ($7), a delicious mix of rum, pineapple and orange.
“I won’t give the secret away,” the server says with a smile.
The Jerk Chicken ($12.25) was easy to inhale, its spiciness slowing us down after several bites. Fried plantains on the side relieved our mouths from the heat of the homemade jerk sauce.
The combination of Ackee, a fruit, and Codfish ($13.50) is a Jamaican national dish and was cooked with onions, tomatoes and spices used for making a flavourful stew.
However, the Rice and Peas ($3.50) accompanying most plates were mealy and dry, lacking any real zest.
The staff is small, the place quiet (except for the television) and the take-out seems brisker than some of the eat-in business.
It’s good food at a good price.