After work, I was in the mood for a dinner that would ease my raging hunger, but leave my pockets intact. I didn’t want anything fancy, just great food that would leave me stuffed.
Jamaican food, which traditionally comes in giant platters, would do the trick.
Little Negril, located on Rt. 38, down the highway from both Cherry Hill Mall and Moorestown Mall, is one of the only Jamaican restaurants in the area. I’ve dined with them before and knew they could deliver just what I was craving.
I ordered a brown stew chicken platter that came with rice and peas, Jamaican cabbage and two fried plantains. I also got the jerk wings, the spicy beef patty, a side of fried plantains (because I love them so much), and a slice of coconut mango cheesecake for dessert.
I stepped into the restaurant that was decked in the colors of Jamaica and had reggae playing on surround sound. When I was handed my food, I used much muscle to hold the bag up. It was far heftier than I imagined. This only made me hungrier.
The 20-minute drive home was torturous as the spices from the wings and platter permeated my car.
Once I got in, I opened every container at once and went to work.
I made a plate with a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and it looked like a mini Jamaican Thanksgiving.
The jerk wings were first and they were so well seasoned I couldn’t contain myself. Not just the skin was slathered with the spicy jerk rub, but the spice had made its way on down to the meat. The seasoning was piled on so thick, that licking my fingers didn’t do much to remove the jerk residue.
I next picked up a piece of brown stew chicken and the meat literally escaped the bone and fell gently onto the bed of rice. It was so tender and juicy and the carrots and potatoes it was stewed with were even more tender.
The rice had a subtle coconut milk flavor, which I love about Jamaican rice and peas. The sauce from the brown stew chicken glazed the grains, giving it much moisture and rich flavor.
I absolutely love fried plantains because they are sweet yet crispy because of their preparation. The little charred crunchy bits around the edges makes them irresistible.
After pigging out, I sat on the couch with my legs propped up on the coffee table and jeans unbuttoned to let my food belly be free. I was so full that I almost forgot to save room for dessert. Almost.
The cheesecake was sitting in the refrigerator so it had firmed up a little more. I sank my spoon into the slice and I could feel a soft resistance from the cream cheese mixture and the pieces of fresh mango hiding in the middle, just above the graham cracker crust. This cheesecake was heaven. It was so sweet and moist, yet the dollop of butter cream on top broke up the sweetness and provided extra creaminess and a hint of saltiness.
Two days later, I still had food left over.
In short, Little Negril is the bomb. It’s so reasonably priced and filling that you won’t go bankrupt whether you have a big appetite or are feeding an army.