1485 South Champion Avenue
Places like Sweet Pot are what make alt.eats tick: ‘Where the hell are we’ location? Check. Dilapidated shack of a building that makes up for its shabbiness with a double dose of unaffected charm? In spades. Novel menu items? No doubt.
And, for extra credit – beverages for, umm, putting the lead in your pencil? Yeah, they have that.
Sweet Pot’s building is somewhat forboding… think Calanley with a few more windows. Step inside, though, and the vibe is more that of a run down gulf coast shrimp shack. A series of glass panes separate the dining room from the kitchen and allow customers to see everything going on in the back of house. On our visit, we saw massive pans of jerk chicken being pulled together – they were obviously busy with a large catering order.
Which is not to say that we felt neglected. Ordering occurs at an opening in the window, through which you’ll also receive your food. The folks running the window were happy to answer questions and were notable for not tailoring their answers to what they thought we’d like.
Well, perhaps with one exception – when one of the females in our group asked about some of the more unusual sounding (and expensive) drinks on the menu, the response was “Those are not for you… they’re for him!”
So, I ordered two ‘Tiger Bones’, a couple of ‘Bedroom Bullies’, and a ‘Magnum’. Alright, so maybe I didn’t. But they serve ’em and they’re certainly not shy about letting you know who they’re for.
Returning to the more gender-neutral portions of the menu, we settled on orders of goat curry, jerk chicken, oxtail, and a mystery fish dish that whose appearance at our table was the result of some confusion at the order counter.
The goat curry was excellent – a generous portion of tender, flavorful meat devoid of excessive gaminess. The curry seasoning was fairly mild, allowing the full flavor of the goat to shine through.
The oxtail was also good – tender meat in a rich stew and particularly notable for being less fatty and greasy than other iterations of this dish.
The jerk chicken was both enjoyable and a bit of a curiosity – enjoyable in the sense that the chicken was properly grilled and nicely flavored, and curious in that it tasted more like barbecued chicken than what we’d normally think of as jerk-seasoned meat.
The fish was the red-headed stepchild of the bunch. It struck us as being a fairly dry baked white fish of some (undisclosed) sort that was doused in an eye-poppingly acidic vinegar sauce and topped with shreds of veggies. A similarly tart slaw accompanied.
All of the above were the ‘small’ portion sizes, and they pile ’em high. All were served with beans and rice with peas, which were roundly deemed exceptional. Whether you choose to eat-in or opt for takeout, you’ll get your food in to-go clamshells. And, in the best of alt.eats tradition, the availability of menu items vary based upon day, time, whim, and perhaps astrology readings.
Vegetarians take note – Sweet Pot has a significant meat-free offering.
The goat and oxtail look fabulous!
The fish was probably escovitch, the Jamaican version of a classic Iberian pescado en escabeche. It’s usually fried fish pickled in vinegar with onions and other vegetables. It’s really good with oilier fish like tuna, mackerel or sardines.
I stopped off here while photographing the neighborhood: Vassor Village. I got the jerk chicken and a beef patty and was pleasantly surprised. I wasn’t crazy about the beef patty at first, but throughout the duration of eating the chicken I found it to be more and more tasty. The location definitely has me scratching my head, since I would think setting up on Parsons would bring more visibility, but apparently they don’t need.
I was going to recommend this place since I figured it might be up the alt.eats.columbus’ alley. I’ve never been there yet because I morbidly fear everything East of my neighborhood cocoon. Maybe I could take a bicycle ride over to check it out.
You don’t want to take a bicycle ride and you probaly want to go in the daytime. I ate here the other night on a recommendation from a friend who stays on champion and it was about to close but the Curry Chicken was good and I lucked out with all breast meat. Portion was big and the box cakes they serve were pretty good too. The Patty was great. I’ll will be back but earlier in the day to have a better selection.
I drove past sweet pot. It was boarded up 😦
Is there another location open somewhere else in Columb;us?