Gritty Hell’s Kitchen is a far cry from the islands, but this small spot narrows the gap. The dining room is sparsely decorated with sunset orange walls, flame-shaped sconces and a TV showing reggae videos. The food has clearly impressed some discerning palates; photos of music-powerhouse customers like Usher, Russell Simmons and Busta Rhymes adorn the wall. Chances are they started with the coconut shrimp, meaty crustaceans fried to a golden brown and served with a sweet and tart pineapple-tamarind sauce. The escoveitch (a variation on ceviche) is equally superb: Fried kingfish fillets are marinated in a vinaigrette made spicy with Scotch bonnet peppers. Ackee, Jamaica’s national fruit, is cooked with cod, bell peppers and onions so that the fish assumes an almost creamy consistency. And the jerk chicken, always a crowd-pleaser, hits just the right spicy notes.
|Venue name:||Caribbean Spice|
402 W 44th St
|Cross street:||between Ninth and Tenth Aves|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Thu 11am–11pm; Fri, Sat 11am–midnight|
|Transport:||Subway: A, C, E to 42nd St–Port Authority|
|Price:||Average main course: $16. AmEx, MC, V|