2458 Cleveland Ave (On the intersection of Myrtle and Cleveland)
Island cuisine isn’t something we run into often in Columbus. When someone brought in some Dominic’s takeout into a bar I was at a few weeks ago, I promptly attacked the poor man for more information and the take out menu. I was also trying hard to charm him into sharing some of his food with me, but all the winks and offers of free beer went unanswered. After eating at Dominic’s, now I know why the stranger refused to share.
TacoDrew and I ordered conch fritters for starters. (Conch in Columbus, we thought? It is a menu item not easily found fresh in Cbus) Our instinct were correct, the chef came out and apologize for the lack of conch and offered us cod fritters ($5) instead.
These fritters were similar in execution as hush puppies. Instead of cornmeal, we have a batter of salted cod, pickled onions, scallions and a small amount of flour. The accompanying sauce was freshly made with lots of the usual salsa like ingredients. However it slightly more tart due to the vinegar and it was a great counterpoint to the fried fritters.
For our entree, we ordered a medium sized curry goat ($8) and jerk chicken ($7). The entrees comes with two sides. We picked fried plantains and pasta olivonge for the goat, rice and peas and fried dumplings for the jerk chicken.
The goat was tender and falling off the bones and lightly season with curry powder. It can be made spicier upon request but we were told by the waitress that they eat it on the mild side in Jamaica. They really know what they are doing with goat here as it is devoid of the usual musky and uric properties that goat tends to have when handled improperly. The plantains were sweet and fried with skill as it was not greasy. The pasta was a nice surprise as it was refreshingly light and healthy with lots of veggies and the use of sun-dried tomatoes was lovely.
This is a jerk I would be happy to see. The chicken was tender, had a great smoky flavor and was well seasoned with jerk spices. There is an option for white meat for an additional $1 but we stuck with the recommended dark meat and did not regret that choice. The fried dumplings that came with it was a cross between a donut hole and a biscuit. It would have been best eaten for dessert with some jam. The rice and peas were amazing! I couldn’t stop eating it, then again I am a sucker for rice cooked in coconut milk. It was rich without being cloying and made the rice very fragrant.
Marlon and Andrew runs Dominic’s which is named after Marlon’s son. They were very friendly and hospitable and went out of their way to educate us about Jamaican food and showed us how they made jerk chicken out back. It is slow roasted over charcoal embers. Andrew told us that the secret to jerk is freshly ground pimento (allspice) and black pepper. The menu has quite a few vegetarian items but Andrew said that he has a longer list of vegetarian dishes in his head. So if you want vegetarian Jamaican grub, just ask Andrew for some suggestions. He does vegan too by request.
Needless to say, we will be back for more as there are some other traditional Jamaican dishes to explore like ackee, saltfish and oxtails. Dominic’s may be new to the restaurant scene, having recently opened in Feb 2010, but there are some old hands back in that kitchen brewing some island magic.