A warm and inviting patio, friendly staff and a kick-ass food and drink menu—Main Street’s latest restaurant and bar has all the necessary ingredients of a neighborhood staple.
Jammyland—a craft cocktail bar and “reggae kitchen”—has been years in the making. Owners Danielle Crouch and Allan Katz started dreaming up the joint nearly a decade ago, but it wasn’t until this February that their brainchild came alive.
Created out of Katz’ love of reggae (and of the former NYC vinyl shop of the same name), Jammyland is a restaurant and bar inspired by island life—on Jamaica, of course, but other Caribbean islands as well. The menu, headed up by nomadic Chef John “Bubba” Grayer, reflects that vision, fusing together tropical flavors with other cuisines like American, African, Indian and Thai.
As such, it isn’t traditional Jamaican fare, but that doesn’t stop Jammyland from being damn good. Order a cocktail (a Golden Misfit, perhaps?) then start with ugali sticks ($7). Ugali is a Kenyan staple made from maize flour, which Chef Grayer shapes into golden-brown “fries” with a heavenly exterior that keeps the inside soft and molten-hot. Next, choose the low and slow pork ribs ($14). They’re dry rubbed with coriander, allspice, cumin, turmeric and star anise and topped off with a spicy-sweet habanero pepper jelly. If you like yours smothered in barbecue sauce, you won’t find that here, but they’re satisfyingly delicious nonetheless.
Pulled chicken curry ($17) is one of the more surprising dishes on the menu, with tender meat swimming in a broth of turmeric, chiles, ginger, Chef’s curry blend and a side of buss up shut—the most addictive roti I’ve ever had, crafted after the Trinidadian and Indian-style paratha bread. And yes, before you ask, vegetarian options abound.
The portions are on the smaller side while price tags land a bit higher—a ridiculously savory (albeit tiny) bowl of black pepper shrimp and porridge will set you back $22. But if you’re seeking a unique experience in the heart of Downtown, there’s no better place right now than Jammyland.
JAMMYLAND 1121 S. Main St., 702-800-9098. Wednesday-Saturday, 6 p.m.-2 a.m., Sunday, 6 p.m.-midnight.