Monday, September 3, 2007

"Jamaica" Me Crazy!

As a kid, I loved the movie Cool Runnings. The Jamaicans seemed like such colorful characters, and the idea of leaving a sunny island to become a bobsledder was hilarious. So when my uncle suggested having lunch at a Jamaican / Caribbean restaurant during my stay in New York, I immediately thought of the movie.

So we trotted off to Negril Chelsea on West 23rd Street for some authentic Jamaican food. The funnest thing about Jamaican food, in my opinion, is that it's influenced by the cuisine of so many other cultures, including African, Chinese, Indian, and American. These influences developed during the years of European settlement and colonization, especially as slaves and indentured workers of other ethnicities came to the island.

I ordered the curried goat, which came with yams, veggies, and a boiled banana. I was a goat meat virgin before this, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! The goat meat was very tender, and the curry was savory but not too spicy or overpowering. I'd prefer this type of curry over the Indian kind any day, since it's not as thick or spicy.

Curried goat ($13)

My uncle ordered the oxtail, which was out of this world! My only exposure to oxtail before this was my mom using it as a soup ingredient, which made for great soup but left the meat too dry and bland for eating. But this oxtail stew at Negril was just delish. The meat was a good texture and braised in a gravy with a wonderful blend of spices. It came with a side of veggies and white rice, which was great to smother with the oxtail gravy.

Negril's Oxtail Stew ($13)

So my first time trying Jamaican food left my taste buds quite happy. The restaurant itself was a cute spot to have lunch, and the service was prompt and friendly. I'd definitely go back there the next time I'm in NYC!

Negril Chelsea
362 W 23rd Street (between 8th and 9th Avenue)
New York, NY 10011
(212) 807-6411


Tara said...

hey its tara, here is the website i was talking about where i made the extra summer cash.......... the website is here

Doug said...

wow - Cool Runnings!!! Hadn't thought of that in about a decade or two.

Passionate Eater said...

I too have never had Jamaican food. Curry, huh? That is interesting, b/c I wouldn't think of that as Jamaican, but they also serve curry at Japanese and Chinese places, so I can see the "spice trade" influence.

pinknest said...

looks like you've been having a delicious time here! i love jamaican curry, especially goat.