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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Don’t be a jerk – eat some!

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The restaurant on the corner of 34th Street and Keystone Avenue serves a style of food not found much in Indy – Jamaican food. Owned and operated by Kahni Harris and his wife, Jennifer, Jamaican Style Jerk (JSJ) offers as authentic a version of this cuisine as you’ll find beyond the island itself.

This is because JSJ only uses ingredients imported from Jamaica ­– the only place in the city to do so.

“We carry a product that is like nothing else in Indy,” said Jennifer Harris. “Nobody can duplicate us because we make it ourselves. This is the only place that serves authentic Jamaican food.”

It is impossible to duplicate because Kahni Harris uses his own recipes that he brought from his native Jamaica. “This is a piece of my home right here,” he said while preparing his food. I found that Harris’ home’s food is good.

I tried several items – curried goat, jerk chicken, a Jamaican patty, a spare rib and ox tail. Every one of them was different and good.

I found curried goat the most intriguing, because I had always associated curry with Indian food. However, Jennifer Harris informed me that it is one of Jamaica’s national dishes, and after trying it, I see why. The meat fell right off the bone in the stew-like entrée, and the goat flavor was different, yet not overly gamey. I also was excited about the chicken and rib because I smelled it cooking when I arrived (note: if you are in the vicinity of 34th and Keystone and smell the wonderful scent of meat and charcoal, it is probably from JSJ).

You have the option of three types of jerk sauce to put on these items – hot, mild and barbeque. I tried hot on the chicken and barbeque on the rib. The heat of the hot sauce was comparable to Tabasco, but it tasted much different (If you like it extra hot, they can add extra Scotch bonnet peppers, Jamaica’s hotter alternative to the jalapeno). The flavor was unique and tasty, unlike any other food I’ve had. The Jamaican patty is ideal for a small and affordable lunch. It is beef, chicken or vegetables enveloped in flaky cornbread that offers distinctive Jamaican flavors for $2.25 or less.

Finally, the ox tail was probably the tastiest dish of all. It is tender and marinated in barbeque sauce, and fantastic. If you were to try any one dish, I would recommend this one.

Additionally, JSJ offers authentic imported Jamaican soft drinks and combination meals with rice and peas. It also has daily specials.

For more information on JSJ, located at 3355 N. Keystone Ave., call (317) 926-1110.

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