The Jerk Spot is spot-on delicious
Life is an adventure, and there are few things more fun than really diving into a cuisine that you know very little about. Our experiences with Jamaican food are minimal, for example. It always looks good on movies about the Caribbean. It always sounds appealing. And upon walking into The Jerk Spot, in a strip mall on Venice Boulevard, it sure smells good.
The staff also know how to set the scene.
There are pictures of Jamaican heroes Bob Marley and Usain Bolt on the wall, and a TV is playing live footage of a reggae band. Music can be such a solid pairing with food when attempting to immerse oneself in another culture as fully as possible within the United States; when your ears are stimulated along with your eyes, nose and mouth, the experience is so much richer.
The staff is also friendly and helpful if you don’t know exactly what everything is. Some of the dishes on the menu are self-explanatory, but others needs a little more detail and these guys are on hand to provide it.
We opted for the jerk chicken, mainly because it’s a dish that we’ve often heard about – it’s considered a Jamaican staple – but we’ve never tried it done properly. Also, the restaurant is named after the dish, so that has to suggest that it’s a specialty.
There’s a choice of white or dark meat, and we chose dark just because we’ve always found it juicier with a richer flavor, but that’s very subjective.
There’s a picture of a little red pepper on the menu next to the item, suggesting that it’s spicy, and it does have a bite, but even for our delicate taste buds, it’s bearable.
In fact, the dish is delicious. The chicken is tender and not in the slightest bit dry, but the skin is crispy and full of flavor. The jerk rub is hot, but just enough to wake up your tongue.
On the side is a couple of slices of sweet, near-caramelized plantain, and a scoop of amazing rice and beans. The Jamaican way of cooking rice and beans together with some awesome seasoning is famous, and justifiably so. It’s soft and light, and the beans manage to compliment the rice beautifully.
The dish is also served with some unspectacular steamed veg, but that’s ok – something healthy to offset everything else is required.
We ordered a side of reggae bread, mainly because it sounded fun. It’s actually five small rolls of fried, sweet bread that could almost be a dessert. They’re decadent but so delicious. They have to be eaten warm though.
Now that we know there’s a Jamaican restaurant in Culver City, we’ll be going back.