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Curry goat

Curry goat from Port Antonio, Jamaica

What: Chunks of goat on the bone; marinated with ginger, garlic, chilies, onions, and curry powder; simmered till fall-apart tender, with some tomatoes and carrots perhaps—that is Jamaican curry goat. It’s more a special-occasion kind of dish than one for the everyday, ideally consumed in someone’s home, of course. In Port Antonio, we found a pretty close approximation of that experience.

Where: A whitwashed shack on the road that winds east from Port Antonio toward Frenchman’s Cove, Woody’s Low Bridge Place (876-993-7888; Drapers Main Rd., Port Antonio, map) is just an enclosed bar/counter with stools and an adjoining open-air hexagonal dining area, behind which chickens wander through a lush green garden. It’s the purview of Charles “Woody” Cousins and his wife, Cherry: He’s a reggae musician who enjoys serenading his guests when the moment is right, she’s full of inspirational sayings (many of which are plastered around the restaurant’s interior). Together they’ve spawned four children and this charming little food shack, serving burgers by day and home-cooked three-course meals in the candlelit garden by night.

When: Woody’s is open Mon-Sat, noon-9pm; Sun, 1pm-7pm. For dinners, you must order a day in advance and pay a JA$1,000 deposit.

Order: Woody presented us with a few options when we stopped in the day before (for burgers, naturally): curry goat, fish in coconut sauce, pepper steak, jerk chicken. We agreed on the goat (JA$2,000 per person (about US$15); for two people, we had to choose the same dish), and it proved a winning decision—a mass of tender goat, its fat melting into the rich, medium-spiced sauce, the bones demanding to be picked clean.

On the side were some veggies and fried plantains; we also had festival for the table, a refreshing slaw-like salad, and a bowl of fluffy rice and pumpkin, a nice change of pace from the ubiquitous rice and peas. As this was a three-course meal, the goat was preceded by a vegetable soup and followed by sweet potato pudding. It was a feast, for less than US$45 for two, including drinks—and as we were the only guests in the garden that night, we might as well have been at Woody and Cherry’s house.

Alternatively: For curry goat in a more traditional restaurant setting, try Mom’s in Ocho Rios (876-974-2811; 7 Evelyn St., map; closed Sundays) or The Pelican Grill in Montego Bay (876-952-3171; Gloucester Ave., map). East of Port Antonio in Long Bay, check to see if the excellent shack Fisherman’s Park (approx. map) is offering this for the day.


 

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