Jerk is a spice seasoning associated with the Jamaican community. Dark brown and wet, it includes hints of cinnamon, cloves, garlic, brown sugar, ginger, nutmeg, and sometimes scallions with pimento and scotch bonnet peppers being the most dominate flavors.
Jerk originated from Western Africa, via escaped Coromantee Africans who bought their cooking traditions with them when they fled from slavery. They used spices and herbs native to the island of Jamaican in place of African ingredients.
How pleased was I to find an eatery that not only made their jerk seasoning in house, but adjusted it for both American and Jamaican heat levels and flavor? Very! Jamerican Cuisine located at 470 N Federal Hwy., Boynton Beach, FL 33435 is a beautifully decorated quaint restaurant on a busy street in the heart of Boynton Beach’s redevelopment district. The interior is romantic and intimate, except for a super creepy Bob Marley painting whose eyes follow you all throughout the restaurant no matter where you go. It freaked me out because it felt like someone was staring at me, but it was that damn Bob Marley picture.
I started out by ordering two drinks because I was super thirsty after getting lost and having to walk almost three miles to the restaurant. The homemade fruit punch was extremely refreshing and packed with fresh fruit flavor. Although a tad bit strong, I liked the ginger tea as my second choice. Just be sure you LOVE ginger if you order this one. Once I’d relaxed a bit with these two refreshing drinks, it was time to get into the food.
Chef Chris and owner Jasmine have created a one-of-a-kind establishment with incredible dishes that push the culinary envelope, especially with our first appetizer – the Ackee and Salt Cod Fish with crispy fried pressed green plantain ($10.95). I requested no Cod, and it immediately turned this unique appetizer into a vegan’s wet dream! Lord have mercy. This crunchy, flavorful, spicy and tantalizing appetizer will have your palate demanding more and more!
Removing the Cod omitted a more saline flavor and replaced it with straight ackee and vegetable power! The ackee itself is reminiscent of a hearts of palm flavor with a smooth buttery and creamy texture to it, well-seasoned and piled high on top of perfectly fried smashed green plantains.
Next on the appetizer circuit came the Jerk Hot Chicken Dip, ($9.95) bursting with cheesiness, served with fried breadfruit chips for scooping. A three-cheese tapestry of cheddar, Monterey jack, and another I couldn’t identify meshed heavily with pieces of shredded jerk chicken. Spice from the jerk chicken and the various cheeses decided to get married and vacation right on my tongue. (Please don’t start your nasty mind games when reading my articles. If you do, I plead the blood of Jesus over your mind right now).
Wrapping up the appetizers, we ordered a sampling of the Jerk Chicken solo to see if it was as good without all the gooey cheese, and it was BETTER! Now, this Jerk Chicken isn’t super authentic in that it’s not cooked over an open flame with bone in, but the jerk seasoning is where the real magic happened for me.
Feeling I now needed Jerk Chicken’s sister, I ordered the Curry Chicken ($12.95). The marinated pieces of chicken seasoned with authentic Jamaican herbs and spices reduced in rich curry sauce will have you doing The Wobble. Surprisingly, the curry sauce meshed with another amazing culinary culture in its Bengali style curry spice; a welcomed break from the traditional Jamaican curry experienced at the usual mom and pop spots I frequent. The silky sauce felt velvety poured over the fluffy Jasmine rice and steamed cabbage. A MUST HAVE for sure.
Chef Chris explained that Jamericans is unlike any local Jamaican eatery because he not only focuses on flavoring his cuisine, but on the potency of the flavor as well. I tasted his explanation during my entire dining journey!
I wanted to give a seafood dish a try, so I settled on the Scottish Salmon ($13.95), served with stuff seasoned crab meat and a homemade cream sauce complimenting the fish’s meaty taste. The salmon had a nice buttery textured, non-fishy, meat of the sea flavor. I thoroughly enjoyed every bite.
Now for the grand finale! The Oxtail Rigatoni Pasta ($13.95) fuses the ultimate Caribbean comfort food with Italian countryside cooking. Each oxtail is braised to perfection with knee-buckling tenderness all covered with a rich brown gravy served with butter beans and carrots. JESUS HAS TAKEN THE DAMN WHELL AND I COULD NOT BE ANY HAPPIER! This dish will have yo ass literally tearing up from its saucy and fatty goodness.
I am so proud of this space for taking Jamaican cuisine to a level unknown in South Florida that I have taken the Bulletline train to visit three times since it opened. And I will continue to visit to satisfy the uncontrollable cravings I’ve developed since stepping foot into Jamerican Cuisine.
My only warning is most of the dishes include coconut oil, so if you don’t like that flavor, inform your server so the chef will use it lightly. This place receives a 10 out of 10 stars on whatever measurement you want to place on it, décor, open kitchen, excellent wine selection, taste, service, flavor, every damn thing! You can reach them for reservations at (561) 370-8946.