Based on a tip from a friend who spent half his life living and working in Jamaica, I finally made it to International Restaurant Shrimp and Fish, a place serving the most authentic Caribbean fare in town, according to him.
To me, Jamaican food is one of the most exciting and satisfying cuisines out there, and whenever I learn of another option, I immediately fit it into my dining schedule. Like almost every other Jah place around, this one is a hole-in-the-wall carry-out on the fringes of town. Located one block south of Hot Sauce Williams, the vaguely named International Restaurant (7823 Cedar Rd., 216-339-4544) has been open for about four years.
The restaurant serves the customary mix of stews like curry chicken, curry goat, oxtail stew, cow’s foot and fish stew. International’s jerk chicken is dark as night from a multitude of spices, which provide a deep, intense and lasting heat. The flavorful meat is supple but not falling of the bone.
Less spicy but no less satisfying, the sun-colored curry chicken, also bone-in, is pleasantly spiced with tropical and exotic flavors. Sadly, the oxtail stew, a personal fave, wasn't yet ready for sale.
Most dishes cost $7 to $9 for a small, which is anything but, and include the customary warm cabbage slaw, rice and beans.
If you dig Jamaican food, put this place on your lunchtime list.