Chubby's Jamaican Kitchen
Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen serves an elevated menu of “likkle bites,” entrees, fresh salads and jerk pit grill items all given modern twists. It's from the Gusto 54 restaurant group, creators of Gusto 101 just across the street.
The restaurant is housed in a circa-1890 row house. On the upper level, you can actually see the old wooden structures where the wall used to end. From up here, you can peer down into the jerk pit grill.
The different sections of the grill can be smoothly lowered and raised, and a subtle waltz of meat, wood, smoke, fire and heat is performed. Chicken is moved back and forth and basted with jerk marinade as chunks of burning pimento, oak and cherry wood are raked back and forth underneath.
Slow-baked jerk wings ($15) are a scrumptious start, dressed with wild honey and scotch bonnet dust. The festival dumplings they’re served with are a tad chewy, but the lime zest topping the wings absolutely completed them.
Jerk pork ($16) is done two ways, buckeye given a more dry, very spicy jerk rub and fatty pork belly grilled on cast iron. The two cuts are accompanied by sauteed seasonal greens combined with comforting onion, tomato, garlic and a hit of chili oil.
Curry goat ($17) arguably smells the most intoxicating out of all the aromatic dishes. Presentation is simple but appropriate in a small bowl, the curry a warm blend of turmeric, mustard seed, ginger and other traditional spices.
A jasmine rice soaks up extra curry, accompanied by a sweet, punchy, fresh mango chutney.
Fried okra ($5) can be ordered “pon di side,” deep fried to crunchy, oily perfection and served with a banana gastrique.
Jerk chicken (starting at $14 for a quarter chicken) also comes from the jerk pit grill. It’s pretty spicy and a wetter than the pork, and thankfully coming with a cooling pile of bright Chubby’s slaw with crisp cabbage and zippy radish.
Calabash Bay ($21) is Chubby’s take on a party pineapple.
Kraken spiced rum, Luxardo amaretto, pineapple juice, and Coco Lopez coconut cream are all blended together with nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom, poured into a fresh pineapple and topped with toasted coconut, maraschino cherries and an edible flower.
Rum punch ($13) is on tap, made with Wray Nephew and Appleton rum, lime, Angostura, and nutmeg, fresh nutmeg grated on top.
My Blossom ($12.50) is thicker and more floral, gin-based with rosewater.
Chubby’s is all modern comfort with resort-like touches, transporting diners to a steamy island getaway that feels like a discovery all its own.