Dish of the Week: Pimento Jamaican Kitchen One Love

I have had everything on Pimento’s menu. Even the Ting — #lovemyting. I ate there twice a week for a summer, and I am barely exaggerating. It’s so good. Their bowls have everything you want in a balanced diet: rice, beans, meat, slaw, fried plantains. But wait, you say, I don’t want rice and beans. I’m on the anti-Paleo diet — give me bread! What kind of restaurant doesn’t have bread? The second-worst kind, I say. But luckily that’s not Pimento. They have bread, and ohmygod is it good. Skip the bowl and get your protein as a sandwich on Pimento’s coco bread, and I guarantee you will not regret it. But that is not what I got this day, so you’ll just have to take my word.

On my most recent trip, I got the slow roasted jerk pork bowl. Yes, the title says One Love, which is their combo of pork and chicken (or veggies now!), but I’m trying not to eat much chicken (long story), so just bear with me. Regardless of what you get, you’ll like it. There are so many colors and smells in the bowl that it takes a second to appreciate the massive quantity of food just dropped in front of you. The beauty of the One Love is it can be enjoyed however you’d like, but if you find yourself overwhelmed, this is how I attack it. I first pour some sauce on the meat — I go with the Kingston Kick, it’s hot without being distracting. Then I whet the appetite with a little slaw. It’s a no-mayo, vinegar based slaw, so it’s crunchy, bright, and the perfect ambassador to assure my stomach that everything is going to be alright. Next I tackle some of the rice and beans and meat. The meat is always tender and so flavorful. About halfway, I take an intermission with one of the two plantains, and an opportunity to mix in the rest of the sauce. The second act is basically a free-for-all, as I’ve lost all motor control and all I’m good for is shoving the taste of Jamaica into my face. Once I’m trying to trap individual grains of rice between my fork tines, I know it’s probably time to stop. But first, dessert: that second plantain. See, that’s the secret. There is no godly reason Pimento’s plantains should be so soft and caramelized, yet here we are. They are sweet, starchy, and soft — the three S’s — almost melt-in-your-mouth gooey. I would take just a bowl of those. There are a million places to go on Eat Street, but don’t sleep on Pimento — they know how to please.