So me and a friend (who is half Jamaican) set out on a quest to eat Jamaican food in Dallas. Ever since I went to school in upstate New York where the Caribbean influence is heavy, I have had an infinity for Caribbean food. However, I must admit...I was not as well-versed into Jamaican food as I thought. My friend was going to cook me ackee and saltfish but wouldn't you know it....Dallas does not sell ackee anywhere! So that's how we ended up at The Island Spot. The Yelp reviews were good so what was there to lose?
First off, the decor and the ambiance is priceless. An "A" for ambiance for sure! I literally felt like I was dropped off on an island and on vacation. My friend just stared at me like I was crazy because I was swaying back and forth to the reggae music and getting into full-on vacation mode in the middle of December. I ordered a rum punch as soon as the waitress came around...and proceeded to imagine that I was in Jamaica.
|Jamaican Rum Punch|
After I stopped pretending that I was in an amazing swimsuit, with an amazing body and surrounded by beautiful blue waters with sand between my toes...I decided that we needed to taste anything "jerk"...because that would be the true test of whether I would refer The Island Spot to anyone. So we ordered the Jerk Chicken Wings as an appetizer. They were excellent! Definitely a must-have if you visit this restaurant.
|Jerk Chicken Wings (I apologize for the picture...maybe the presentation should have been better by the restaurant? But in any event, it was amazing!)|
So after stuffing our faces with the Jerk chicken we looked forward to the actual entrees which was of course the Ackee and Saltfish that I have come to learn is a Jamaican staple food and then I ordered Ox Tails with saffron rice and spinach. I just had a craving for ox tails...what can I say? Let's start with my ox tails...
|Ox Tails w/ Saffron Rice and Spinach|
So sadly I was disappointed in my ox tails. They were "ok". They lacked seasoning....in fact it was bland. Just to make sure my taste buds wasn't off, I offered my friend several bites and he confirmed that they were at best a 3 out of 5 rating. The spinach was great...but who can mess up spinach? *Sigh* Really disappointed with this. Fatkid Foodie Fail. Moving onto the ackee and saltfish...please dear God let it be better. Leah hates to waste a meal on less than desirable food.
|Ackee and Saltfish w/ Cabbage and Rice & Peas|
So I fell in love with the ackee and saltfish. The seasoning and flavors were a great blend. I wasn't aware that this dish had a tomato base to it which was a great addition. My one complaint was that the saltfish was scarce. I joked to my friend, "Can I get some saltfish with my ackee?" Now, my friend coming from Jamaican roots said that the ackee and saltfish was "ok" and that his grandmother makes it better...but is that really fair? We always will think our family can make signature dishes better. So his opinion, while I'm keeping it in mind...doesn't really weigh on my thoughts as the non-Jamaican. haha!
I will definitely be giving The Island Spot another try as far as trying out different entrees but I can say that I left more disappointed than satisfied.