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Island Grill Take Out's drabs belie its flavorful Jamaican dishes 

click to enlarge First timers may wish to stick to a plate of the more familiar jerk chicken. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • First timers may wish to stick to a plate of the more familiar jerk chicken.
It’s been a couple years since owner/chef Lateisha Scaffe took over this long-time Jamaican spot, whose drabs appearance and surroundings (think: order via a window, get a key to use an upstairs bathroom) belie the flavorful dishes the kitchen produces. First timers may wish to stick to a plate of the more familiar jerk chicken ($12 white meat), bright with baking spices and pepper essence, soft and sauced like barbecue, and always a treat with sappy fried plantains.

Veterans looking to branch out may aim for one of the salt fish items — ackee and salt fish being Jamaica’s notable, national dish, with other renditions seen across the Caribbean. The menu amusingly labels them vegetarian (um ... pescatarian, ahem), but salt fish tends to be composed of cured cod or white fish. In the case of Scaffe’s callaloo and salt fish ($10), steamed collard greens gain a little onion and bell pepper sweat before seeing a restrained infusion of torn fish bits; it eats both bitter and highly salty, as intended. Pigeon pea-flecked rice buffers that potency a bit, as does watery, buttery white cabbage that taste a touch sweetened.

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