Despite the structure’s glaring chain restaurant past and desolate strip setting, Jamaica Gates is a charming little place. An owner often acts as server, happily steering guests away from what he considers their lesser dishes. He points out several starters, though not the Jamaican patty. You know the thing: a turmeric-yellow pastry filled, in this case, with ground beef and spices so popular it even appears in local frozen food aisles. Here it’s a savory, though quite soggy, dough packed with underachievement.
He raves, however, about the curry goat. A classic slow-cooked blend of imported and local tradition, the meat pulls easily from the bone, revealing some gaminess and much leafy, earthy flavor drawn in from the curry, a hearty green base slivered by fatty residue and hiding subversive heat. He’s right—it’s a thoroughly impressive dish. They prepare island classics such as mannish water (goat soup), oxtails, and the everyday filler, rice and peas.
Another Caribbean favorite, brown stew fish is slathered in a rich, murky sauce, and looks as if it were dredged from receding floodwaters. But that’s what you want: the promise of powerful flavors, the down and dirty mattering more than anything pretty and delicate. All this while a small band fills in the background.
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Top Jamaican in Dallas7.3 Jamaica Gates
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