Reggae Hut Cafe

Short of a trip to Jamaica, the best way to experience the country's cuisine is to try the jerk chicken ($8.50) at Reggae Hut Cafe (4814 Almeda, 713-520-7171). There are several theories about the name of this dish. Some say "jerk" refers to the style of cooking, in which the meat is dry-rubbed with a mixture of spices; others say it's the method of cooking, grilling the meat over an open pit. Still others think the word refers to the way cooks "jerk" the meat from the grill and turn it to continue cooking. The rub may contain many ingredients, including allspice, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, thyme, garlic and hot peppers such as scotch bonnet, a type of habanero. Here, the chicken has a deep smoke flavor, which comes through despite the dark, pungent, spicy sauce. It's served with rice, pigeon peas, cabbage, greens and carrots.
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Paul Galvani