$13 at Reggae Hut

Where: Reggae Hut, 4814 Almeda Rd., 713-520-7171

What $13 gets you:
Any main course or seafood dish, which will be more than enough. Favorites include the jerk chicken and garlic shrimp, along with a Jamaican take on oxtail. We tried that, mainly because we weren't quite sure what it meant.

Instead of the standard soul-food gravy normally featured in these-here parts, the four large tails (chunks of tail-bone surrounded by juicy meat) were soaked in a bright brown sauce. It was tangy and decidedly Caribbean, and it squirted and splashed as we pulled the soft meat from the bone with a fork, ruining our white shirt for the rest of the workday. The meat had just enough fat to make it soft and sweet without causing us to feel too guilty.

The rice and kidney beans seemed dull at first taste. But by the third bite, there were subtle and perhaps even tantalizing hints of spicy and fruity flavors. And then the rice and beans were gone.

The boiled greens were decidedly not our style, but that's not why we showed up, anyway.

As a place called "Reggae Hut" probably should, it made us long for the beach. The inside is spare, open and bright, with paint right over the concrete walls. The music, which did include some Bob Marley, came straight from a Caribbean radio station.

All of which made a glance at the wall-mounted flat screen, which was tuned to CNN and the healthcare debate, more than a little depressing. How about some Baywatch?

Recommended? Yes .... mon.

Bonus point: Besides the tiki torches on the tables outside? Try the "ginger beer," which is not beer, but a delicious juice made from boiled ginger.

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