what: curry goat roti
where: Mama J’s Caribbean Restaurant, 2205-H Decker Blvd., 782-0169
Bone-in cuts of rich, flavorful goat leg are slow-cooked until tender in a mild curry sauce with butter beans, Irish potato and whole sprigs of fresh thyme, then served in a seasoned roti, an Indian-style unleavened flatbread made fresh by a local baker, according to executive chef/owner and restaurant namesake Mama J. The flatbread presentation might make you want to pick it up, but this is a knife and fork kind of meal, at least until you decide to pick up the bones one by one and clean off all the good and clingy bits. Comes with cabbage and carrots and fried plantains, although other side options include rice and peas, bammy (cassava bread) and festival (fried dumplings). Attached to the Oriental International Market on Decker Blvd., Mama J’s primarily serves take-out orders, but there are booths in the dining room if you’d like to stay and eat after you place your order at the counter. Beverage options include fresh Jamaican (hibiscus) tea, carrot or soursop juice, or an array of imported non-alcoholic drinks like Irish Moss, Ginseng Up and Vita Malt. “If you can’t afford the airfare to Jamaica, just come see us,” says Mama J. “We’ve got the real thing.” — Jonathan Sharpe
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