Cool Jerk

There are no tables at Island Hut, just seven stools at the bar and three more along the window. There isn’t any decor, really — I didn’t think you could get less bare-bones than previous 2408 University tenant Irene’s Pupusas, but the Hut has done it. And it would be nice to sip a Red Stripe with my meal, but a beer license is probably a year or so away.

Those may be drawbacks, but no matter: the food is good, and the jerk chicken in particular ought to have people lining up all day every day.  Not everything is fabulous: beef patties look like mass-market, not made in-house (though I could be wrong); the beef is an unusual creamy-pate consistency. The pastry is flaky enough, and they taste okay. Goat curry is better, fork-tender meat with a hint of fire in the flavorful dark green-brown sauce with chunks of ginger and carrot. Curries (several options besides goat) are served with white rice or rice’n’beans, average thick-cut slaw, and plantains; a nice little lunch or dinner plate.

But never mind all that. The jerk chicken is the real deal: moist, tender, charred on the outside, and with a sneaky spicy kick. You know it is good when you can’t stop gnawing the bones. It comes with sauce that is allegedly hot but isn’t any hotter than the chicken itself — still, the sauce is good, I used mine for dipping the meat patty.  The chicken needs no sauce.  You can get a quarter, half, or whole chicken, prices are comparable with most local Peruvian chicken spots.

Island Hut is really just a takeout joint for now, though that may change if they serve beer at some point. The menu also includes some seafood that takes longer to prepare, and a few other items, like ribs, are listed but are not yet actually available.  They have been open a few weeks and are still ramping up. A local family owns and runs the place; very friendly, efficient service. I also like the little window and saloon doors between kitchen and counter.

Bottom line: the curry is good, and the jerk chicken is excellent. I expect to see a line next time I’m there, which may be soon.

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9 responses to “Cool Jerk

  1. Any sense of how it compares with Negril in Silver Spring? I seem to remember that Negril offered some pretty decent patties and a fairly good goat roti. It was also easy on the wallet. I’m still waiting for a caribbean place around here to serve conch.

  2. I think Island Hut beats Negril at both goat and chicken in terms of quality (and Negril isn’t bad), but Negril may slightly win on price. If I lived in SS I would probably go to Negril over IH just for convenience, but for us Wheatonians, IH is a welcome arrival.

  3. While walking by it the other day, I found myself wishing that they had named it the Jerk Hut instead, just so I could go around telling people that the Jerk Hut called, and they’re running out of you.

  4. Nice one, Costanza.

  5. Went there the day after opening….
    Goat was excelent, ended up chatting with the staff for 1/2 hour after closing.

    They may start offering breakfast at some point (how does a meat pattie and coffee on the way to metro sound?)

    Highly recommend for the staff even if Jamacian isnt your taste

  6. I had the oxtail stew, which was very flavorful and falling apart tender as it should be. I don’t often see slow-cooked stewed meats like that on menus. I’ll be back.

  7. Went this evening for the first time. There were people carrying out bags when I got there and three or four ordering while I was waiting for our order. So, you’ve apparently got some sway over Wheaton! Ordered a whole jerk chicken which curiously didn’t come with sides (unlike the quarter or half) and the goat curry. Both were very good, though I give the edge to the curry because the chicken was a little cold by the time I got home. We don’t live far so I think the bird was that way when we got her. We ordered Mac and Cheese (disappointingly Kraft or similar box – especially for $4), rice and peas (not sure this also wasn’t from a box. Again $4), and plaintains (lukewarm and not gooey like Peruvian). Sides were also kind of skimpy on portions. Overall, good and we will return. I think we may make our own sides next time though.

  8. Mrs. Me was also not impressed with the plantains, which are not really my thing regardless. I thought the rice/beans were okay, and I agree the side dish portions/rules/quality may still be a work in progress. But, I’m all about the main dish, jerk chicken and curries, which are clearly from scratch and authentically, excellently Jamaican. Glad to hear there was a line! Thanks to all for the comments.

  9. Pingback: Sietsema Likes Island Hut? | Good Eatin' In Wheaton

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