Thursday, June 21, 2012

I finally got my goat!

G's Jamaican Cuisine on Urbanspoon

When I first announced to my family that I wanted to eat at G’s Jamaican Cuisine, they asked me what they served there, I told them Curried Goat.  They gave me that “stank face” you get when someone smells something very unpleasant, needless to say, we didn’t go.  That was a little over two years ago now.  I brought it up again and they had forgotten about the goat meat, so they were game to give the place a try.

I first tried goat by accident.  We had spent the morning climbing up and sliding down Dunn’s River Falls, it was now mid-day and our taxi driver had taken us back down the mountain into Ocho Rios to the Market because the Gals wanted to shop.  A couple of us were hungry so we walked over to a guy on the street who was cooking some sort of unrecognizable meat on wooden stakes over coals in an oil barrel that had been cut in two.  It smelled amazingly delicious, so we each ordered one.  We were standing there, holding the stakes, busily gnawing the meat off the bone like a wild bunch of crazed carnivores, when I heard a familiar voice above the quiet roar of the hubbub in the street.  “Do you know what it is you are eating there Man?”  It was our taxi driver, still across the street, standing there, arms crossed, leaning against his Toyota van, a broad smile covering his obviously amused face.  “No!” I replied, looking to my companions for help, each confirming by a shake of the head and a shrug of the shoulders that they had no clue either.  “It’s Rat!” he barked, probably trying to get a reaction, “He probably killed them last night and skinned them this morning, Man!”  Like a scene out of an Abbott and Costello movie, we each immediately stopped eating (and chewing) and stared directly at each other, after a moment’s pause, we shrugged our shoulders in unison and continued eating.  After swallowing, I yelled back, “Who knew rat would taste so good!”  The taxi driver laughed very hard and yelled back, “You’re not like the other Americans Man, You, I like Man.”  Having witnessed first-hand the unfortunate ways in which many Americans act abroad, I have always considered this one of the greatest compliments ever bestowed upon me.  Having heard, and being properly offended by the taxi driver’s remarks, the street vendor informed us that we were not eating rat, but were in fact eating goat that he, himself, had raised.  Nostalgic for my “ramblin’ man” days, I’ve yearned to try the goat at G’s.  It’s the only place that I’ve seen goat on the menu in the central part of the US, or anywhere else I’ve been in the States for that matter.

G’s Jamaican Cuisine is in a little strip mall on the West side of Troost, south of 79th Street, across from the Troost Market, a gas station with boom cars in the parking lot with their sub woofers blasting so loudly that I could feel it affecting my heart rate across the street.  “This place is a bit sketch!” announced my 17 year old son.  “We’ll be okay.” I reassured him as we walked to the door. Once inside the front door, we stopped, there was a woman and two men at the bar talking, they stopped what they were doing and just stared at us, we, in turn, stared at them.  After a moment of uncomfortable silence, the woman (who turned out to be the waitress), said “Are you going to carry-out, or do you want to eat it here?”  “I would prefer to eat it here,” was my reply.  “Okay, sit wherever you’d like.” 

There were only 3 tables to choose from with four chairs around each in the center of what appeared to be a dance floor.  We chose a table and sat down.  Inside, every vertical plane had been painted by an airbrush artist; making the place very colorful.  There were many ceiling fans pushing the air around, I’m not certain that the air conditioning was on.  It was warm, but not stuffy.
I ordered Curry Goat with fried Plantains and Red Beans and Rice.  The Curry Goat had a nice flavor, it was moist and very tender, what I didn’t like about it were all the small chunks of bone in it.  The Red Beans and Rice was dry and rather bland.  The fried plantains were very ripe and frying them really brought out a slight sweetness, we all liked these.   

My son ordered Curry Chicken, Macaroni and Cheese and fried Plantains.  The Curry Chicken also had a nice flavor, it was also moist and very tender, but it also had bones in it; bummer.  My son liked the mac and cheese; I thought it was just okay, although it was some of the creamiest I’ve ever tried.

My spouse ordered Jerk Chicken, Red Beans and Rice and cooked Cabbage.  The Jerk Chicken was the hit of the night, it had the best flavor.  The waitress had said that it was very spicy hot, but none of us agreed.  It was a bit dry, but the flavor made up for that.  This is what I’ll order when I come back here.  The cooked Cabbage was interesting to me.  Growing up with a father who was a 1st generation German-Swede, we seemed to have cooked cabbage often, or at least more often than I would have liked.  Instead of being long and stringy and limp, the cooked Cabbage at G’s was chopped into small chunks with some other vegetables.  It was more like warm coleslaw without the dressing, which for me was nice and unexpected. 

Order Counter

Although there were many customers that came and went while we were at G’s, none of them stayed there to eat; they all took their food away with them.  One man walked in the door, took three steps toward the order counter, glanced over at us and stopped dead in his tracks.  “What!?” he exclaimed loudly and looked at the men at the bar.  They shrugged their shoulders and said nothing.  He looked back at us and shook his head no before walking on to the order counter.  I was fully expecting them to begin singing a rousing chorus of “One of these things is not like the other”.  We all laughed. 
Because we were given large portions of food which we could not finish, we ended up boxing it up and carrying it out after all. 

After all these years of patiently waiting, I finally got my goat.  It ended up an enjoyable evening, just as it always does.  I wish you could have been there with us.

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