As I’ve begun to settle into my delightful new neighborhood, I’ve become addicted to the PLG-based blog Across the Park. Some weeks ago, I conducted an elaborate independent canvassing campaign along Flatbush Avenue to determine the lay of the land and apply my own personal Google Maps “street view” to my temporal lobe for later processing. (I apologize if such terminology is perceived as ostentatious, but I can only report the way that my twisted little brain operates. If it’s any consolation, the sickness has caused much of the machinery in my noggin to operate at half speed.)
During the course of this prodigious walk, I espied the fantastically named City Jerk, which seemed rather fitting in light of a specific type of individual I have observed in Manhattan with troubling frequency. The establishment specializes, as one can easily aver, in jerk chicken.
Now I’m a fan of jerk, but the difficulty in stepping into any random neighborhood restaurant is that there are approximately 300 other restaurants also doing business with this Jamaican delight. I had thought that the prodigious number of taquerias in the Mission District was impressive and perhaps nonpareil in its near rhapsodical dissemination. Until I encountered Brooklyn’s bountiful jerk restaurants. The jerk restaurants may very well stop rapacious landlords from gutting the boroughs and replacing them with high rises and jacking up property values with little concern for everyday folks. (Accordingly, I must don a skirt and a pair of pom-poms and shout, “GO JERK RESTAURANTS! GO! GIVE ME A J…,” inter alia. Your tips on apposite eye liner for these ostensibly Marxist purposes are, of course, quite welcome.)
However, I have also recently discovered — almost entirely by accident — that chicken has proven strangely beneficial to the recovery of my voice. Shortly after I have eaten chicken, I have been shocked to discover some of my voice’s affable qualities returning. Now whether this has occurred because of the steam that flows from the meat as one delicately peels back the skin, causing a pleasant aroma and visible mist to drift up one’s nasal cavity, or it’s the chicken’s protein and grandma’s panacea qualities which permit it to form a dominant allele in that trusty homeopathic formula that was, according to my unreliable notes, devised by Mendel (I refer, of course, to “chicken soup”), I cannot say. I am not a medical expert. But I do observe what works.
Which is to say that chicken was very much in the cards.
Now since Across the Park gave the thumbs up to City Jerk a few weeks ago, I decided to investigate it myself. The proprietor was exceedingly kind, helping to acquaint your yokel correspondent with the provincial culinary procedures, and took great care to provide and recommend very specific amounts of rice and gravy. For a mere seven dollars, I walked out of City Jerk with a remarkably tasty congeries of delicate chicken, sauce that was very precise in its spiciness (not too overpowering but resonant enough in taste and texture to more than warrant its application), perfectly cooked plantains (soft and not overcooked), and some vegetables. We’re talking good chicken with the fixings.
I must disagree, however, with Across the Park’s view that the jerk chicken in question is better intact. Because the aforementioned proprietor was thankfully not inspired by the comfort food mentality that has proven remarkably resilient six years after September 11. Thus, she did not chop the chicken to unsuitable particulates. She clearly understood that, rather than having oblong bits of chicken breast to tear up awkwardly and mix with the various sides, it needed to be chopped ever so slightly, so as to be better disseminated across the plate and mixed up among the rice.
All this is to say that City Jerk is certainly worth your time, particularly if you’re in the latter stages of laryngitis and you find yourself in my hood. It’s located at 591 Flatbush Avenue.
© 2007, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.