Now that the dog days of summer are upon us, we at ELV thought we’d change up our posts for the next month or so. Instead of tiring out your overheated and fatigued minds with lengthy articles exploring the nuances of a restaurant, a cuisine, a fabled city or a wine, we thought we’d concentrate on various favorite dishes we’ve tried recently, all in an attempt to spur you out of your humble abodes and into some of the tastiest plates Las Vegas has to offer.
Such as the jerk chicken platter (pictured above) at Tasty Island Jamaican Restaurant — as tasty a plate of yardbird as you can find in our humble burg.
How good is it? Well, that chicken is plenty juicy and coated wid all da right jerk spice, mon — leaving seasoning (and a sauce) that compliments, rather than overwhelms, the bird.
The rice is nice and nutty, too, and that soft, doughy little pretzel roll is as fresh as a baked good can be.
We even liked the callaloo (a stew of amaranth leaves at top right) that had the same life-affirming and health-giving properties as a big pot of collard greens. And the spicy-curried Jamaican meat pies were nothing to sneeze at either:
…with just the right balance of meat, flake and heat.
Put it all together with a thick slice of house-made spice cake and you have a taste of the tropics in our own backyard.
Caribbean cooking can try one’s patience (How many ways can you combine fish with fruit?), but the mountains, streams and oceans around Jamaica have blessed it with variety of raw materials and spices that are the envy of the tiny countries populating this small ocean.
For those of you looking to go a little bit more native, the menu lists all sorts of island treats — from cowfoot stew to ackee and saltfish (an acquired taste if ever there was one) — all offered individually or as part of a slightly more expensive platter, with nothing topping twenty bucks. Quite a deal for quite a lot of soulful cooking.
We’re not ready to proclaim Tasty Island the best Jamaican restaurant in town, because it’s the only one we’ve ever been to. But we’ve also been to the island nation itself, and every bite we took here took us straight back to Ochos Rios.
And boy is that jerk chicken worth a special trip — to the corner of Flamingo and Rainbow — if you can’t afford a ticket to Kingston. Take us away, Harry:
Our lunch for two, that could’ve fed four, came to $43 and we left a $10 tip.
TASTY ISLAND JAMAICAN RESTAURANT
6820 Flamingo Road Suite H
Las Vegas, NV 89103