Jamaican


Macky’s Caribbean Cuisine is in the same complex of strip malls as Lavender Asian Bistro and Caribbean Flavors, and so if you’re heading down 124 from Snellville to Lawrenceville, remember to turn left when you see the Aldi’s. Once you’ve turned, Macky’s will be in the strip malls to your right, but not in the same physical complex as Lavender and Flavors. It’s in the one just before that, sandwiched between the gas station and the final bit of strip mall. It’s new enough to have the “NOW OPEN” sign up when I visited.

Being brand new and next to a couple pretty good restaurants, there weren’t very many customers when we arrived. It’s a small place, with maybe 6 to 8 pretty green booths, and a counter where you order. The windows are silvered to the point you really can’t see inside while outside. It is neat and clean, however, and the menu is on a board above the counter top.

Mack’s is largely Jamaican, so unlike Caribbean Flavors, things like jerk chicken will be available. I asked the people there what I should order, as I was diabetic and I wanted something I could eat safely. They suggested jerk chicken with a vegetable as a side. My daughter ordered the small curried chicken plate. We got our drinks and waited. The entrées arrived shortly.

The jerk chicken, as I received it, was a dry jerk, no sauce on the meat. The smoke flavor was thick in my jerk chicken, and it left me wondering why the simplest Jamaican places can succeed at making excellent smoked foods, and the regional spots that should know how to smoke food really do not.  Yes, and the Vietnamese are Atlanta’s best chefs when it comes to inexpensive Cajun foods. So go figure.

I really liked my dish, both the chicken and the cabbage. My daughter liked her dish, but would have liked more chicken and less sides. Next time I guess I have to get her the large dinner plate.

Verdict: Well smoked meats. Inexpensive and good Jamaican food. Recommended.

Macky’s Caribbean Cuisine
1215 Scenic Highway
Lawrenceville, GA 30045
(770) 979-8484

Macky's Caribbean Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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I’ve spoken of Tastees before, a small one man Jamaican restaurant on Centerville Highway, next to Flames, and the last time I went I thought they were pretty good. But I never did get back to them to try their jerk chicken. I was too fascinated by one of the curries Tastees offered. So I came back, on a day many restaurants were closed, to see what Tastees serves as a jerk chicken.

It’s a wet jerk, and it’s been over the grill a while. Tastees appears to have a newer grill than it did the last time I came. It is still out front, and the sound system inside has also been improved.  The picture is of a large jerk chicken plate, which at Tastees costs $9.00. The smaller plate is $7.50.  I thought the jerk chicken was good, the veggies were good, the plantains good, the peas and rice  were good.

Alongside the jerk chicken is a bottle of DG’s spicy Jamaican ginger beer. It’s in the same category as Stewart’s Ginger Beer or Blenheims, which we have spoken about before. DG’s has a clean spicy bite to it, noticeable but not overpowering.

In the same mall area as Red Robin and Urban Flats, there is a Honeybaked Ham. It’s a bit “around the corner” from Urban Flats, and roughly opposite the Doc Greens in the area. They serve both meats and sandwiches, though there really is no place to sit inside. I bought a half pound of ham, and thought the lady behind the counter was both helpful and sweet. This store was new to me, though my wife tells me it’s been here a while.

In the building where On the Border used to be, a stone’s throw from Honeybaked Ham, a new restaurant is being put together. It’s called Kampai, and the focus will be steaks and sushi and tapas. The last has me curious. While there are hibachi style restaurants in Snellville, there is no izakaya.  An izakaya would come in handy in this neck of the woods.

Tastee’s Jamaican Cuisine
2671 Centerville Hwy
Snellville, GA 30078
(678) 344-7004

The Honeybaked Ham Company
1250 Scenic Highway
Lawrenceville GA 30045
(678) 344-4673

On 285 Foodies, there has been a certain amount of conversation about an eatery named Richie Rich, at the corner of Main Street (78) and Henry Clower Boulevard.

It’s a Jamaican place. Gadget Geek seems to like it, but felt his one trip there wasn’t enough to cover the menu. I’d have liked to try it, but it was closed this Sunday.

Perhaps another time.

Chef Rob’s is on Roswell Road, a bit north of Clifton, a bit south of Hammond, on the left as you’re headed north. It’s in the Parkside Shopping Center, and a bit away from the road. The eatery wasn’t that hard to find, once I was in the parking lot, as their catering van was parked nearby.

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Inside it’s a small but very pretty restaurant, with yellow and red melding into earth tones inside. They have a small bar and nice looking bamboo style placemats on the tables. I ordered a soda, but that’s probably a mistake, as they serve a great looking and cold bottle of water with every meal.

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I ordered their 1/4 jerk chicken, as I really was looking for something with a little kick that day. It came with peas and rice and steamed vegetables. When it arrived, the meat was very dark, a product of the seasoning used. This is a wet jerk chicken, and has plenty of a dark brown sauce that comes with the meal.

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The chicken is very good. The spicing, as has been noted in other reviews, is full and rich and grows on you. I like spices that develop character and build, and I like some heat. Chef Rob’s chicken filled the bill on both criteria.

Afterwards I had a slice of Jamaican fruit cake. It’s a very dark cake, certainly not like the blocks of fruit I’ve seen around Christmastime. Still, you can taste the fruit in this very dark confection and also the rum used to candy and flavor the fruit. It was a pleasure to eat.

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Service is good but casually paced. If you need to eat and run, Chef Rob’s isn’t the place to be.

Verdict: Tasty Caribbean dishes and some very nice desserts. Highly Recommended.

Chef Rob’s Caribbean Cafe
5920 Roswell Rd NE
Sandy Springs, GA 30328
(404) 250-3737

Chef Rob's Caribbean Cafe on Urbanspoon

Flames is on Highway 124, about a block south of the Highpoint Road-124 intersection and is in the same strip mall as Tastees. Flames is a classic neighborhood bar, some tables and booths, some televisions, roomier than some bars. It also has a couple pool tables in the back, and as you enter, a bar to the left.

Once I was seated, my waitress asked, “What would you like to drink?” Her English had a light accent, as if she was from the Caribbean. I asked for the beers on tap and selected Heineken as my best option. It came in a pretty glass, costs about $4.50.

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The foods? Nothing special, until I saw the jerk chicken. I ordered that. Alabama and West Virginia were on the tube and people were playing Texas Hold ‘Em in one corner of the bar.  Some time later, the jerk chicken arrived.

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It was clear, almost from the start, that the chicken was smoked. You could smell it in the meat, taste it on your fingers. The chicken was really good. That little container of red in the photo? That’s hot sauce my friend, and has a bite to it. The ketchup was in bottles on tables, but not on mine. I went over and grabbed one, so I could suck down fries with my chicken.

I was surprised. This neighborhood sports bar does a very mean chicken.

Verdict: Good, dry, smoky jerk chicken is the star here. Recommended.

Flames Sports Bar and Grill
2671 Centerville Highway (Highway 124)
Snellville, GA 30078
(770) 736-1007

Flames Sports Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

Tastee’s Jamaican Cuisine is a small restaurant in a strip mall one block south of the Highpoint Road-Highway 124 intersection. It sits adjacent to Flame’s Sports Bar and Grill, facing 124. The day I arrived they were smoking their jerk chicken just outside the store.

tastees

Inside, it’s small. There are a few tables, but very few. The menu is scrawled on a whiteboard, there are covered containers of food behind a counter, and on the counter, a heating rack full of patties. They have chicken and beef patties at this place. Patties are cheap, less than $2.00 each. They also have dinner plates, with jerk chicken, oxtail, curried chicken and goat, brown stew chicken and brown stew fish. The dinner plates come in a medium and large size, have peas and rice and vegetables as sides.  Medium plates run about $7 dollars or so and large plates about $9.50 or so.

I was shopping for lunch. My wife only eats patties, so I bought 4 chicken patties and a large plate of curried goat to go. As appealing as the smoked chicken was, I had never had goat and this was an opportunity. We took it home, shared tastes. My daughter had never had goat either and there wasn’t any way she was just eating patties.

Goat is a dark meat, and some compare the taste to lamb or veal.  The curry spices, of course, were the dominant flavors in the dish. The curry was tasty without being too spicy or overpowering. Peas and rice were good, and the mixed vegetables (largely stewed cabbage) were good as well. The patties, in comparison to  Golden Krust, were larger, rounder, and the filling was creamier in texture. The patties had some spicy heat, which wasn’t immediately obvious but would creep up on you later.

Verdict: good first impression, recommended for now. It is inexpensive, as patties are cheap and filling. I will need to go back sometime and try their home smoked chicken.

Tastee’s Jamaican Cuisine
2671 Centerville Hwy
Snellville, GA 30078
(678) 344-7004

Tastee's Jamaican Cuisine on Urbanspoon