On a quest for some great jerk up in Harlem, I stumbled into Paradise. Is it paradise for Jerk? Well, when I came in to the restaurant, the first thing the proprietor said to me was “It’s a little dry.” The thing that disturbed me was the way she said it so matter-of-factly as if all Jerk Chicken was supposed to be dry.
For the record; it is not.
This got me to thinking about why black people often order their steak well-done. I had a black friend give me a theory behind this. He told me that he and his friends grew up with their parents cooking everything quite thoroughly. They got used to things that were overcooked and developed a taste for it.
The reason that he said that it was at that temperature is because the parents weren’t sure of the quality of the meat. They wanted to make sure all of the bacteria was dead before they served it to their children. Then it trickles down to their children, and their children’s children, and you get this whole era of people preferring their steak well done and waiters looking at black people funny when they order their steak.
Working at a steakhouse in Rockville, Maryland, I was guilty of this sin more than a few times, but I judged anyway. Why would you ruin a perfectly good steak by ordering it well-done. I’m here to tell all of the African-Americans in the audience that it is now OK to order your steak medium-rare. There is nothing to fear as far as illness is concerned, you’ll know about any e-coli flare ups on @CNNBRK before you eat any bad meat.
So my call on the Jerk Chicken here, skip it. I have to say, I went at an odd time (Saturday around 4PM), so it might simply be a function of when I ordered it. Now I know why critics go to a restaurant three or four times before they review them, but I don’t really have that luxury.
The Beef Patty was also a bit dry. I’ve never had a beef patty that was made to order. I wonder where they even make these? I’d love to see Danny Meyer’s take on the beef patty.
Nice and spicy, hot as hell, but too similar to the ones at 7-11. I felt like these weren’t made at the restaurant.
Now for the good stuff. No, not good, great. The Curried Goat. It was exceptional. I think I just love me some curried goat. I’ve only had this dish twice and both times, I’ve fucking loved it. If you don’t know goat, you need to discover this quickly. It’s like a spicy, peppery yellow curry, it was stewed with some vegetables and a throwaway salad. You MUST, absolutely MUST ask for extra goat sauce with your meal. Make sure you get it all over the rice and beans they give you. Salsa de barbacoa? I think that’s how you ask for it. Seriously, though, I urge you to Vote Goat.
Holy fuck. I’ve been searching for this restaurant online for the last 10 minutes and I couldn’t find it anywhere online. It’s not on Yelp, not on google, there’s no reference to it anywhere, except here. So there you are my foodie friends, a discovery of some fantastic curried goat on the island for all the web-enabled gentrifiers looking for some great Carribbean food with a caveat …
Don’t get the jerk.
Paradise Grove Caribbean Restaurant
2163 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10029
Phone? I don’t know, man.