4172 Main Street, Vancouver
Tasty tasty good Caribbean. This comfy restaurant has a warm island vibe – true to its relaxed exotic roots. The food is appetizing, the service is friendly, and the prices are decent – definitely worth trying at least once, twice (or in my case), thrice.
I’ve been the the Reef for both lunch and dinner and both have been delightful. Delicious and well worth the cashmoney. Mains tend to go for $11 at lunch and $15 at dinner. From warm curried chickpea salad, to roti, to jerk chicken; the Reef’s got something for everyone. There are veggie options – like the jerk tofu on a sweet bun, or the veggie stuffed flatbread. There is also jerk meat, meat, and meat – chicken, salmon, sausage, goat, ox, mahi…the list goes on.
Okay, I can hear you all now: “but, Lynn! What is jerk?!” relax guys, it’s pretty much the style of dry rubbing meat with allspice and scotch bonnet peppers. Everyone on the same page, now? Good. Off we go!
First off: don’t forget to get a starter of plantain chips!….much like banana chips – except they’re salty instead of being sweet. I took a picture for you so you could see that it’s well worth the $6:
Heck yes it’s worth it! Plus, they come with jerk mayo for dipping.
This time around I had the good fortune of sampling the drool-worthy Mahi Mahi. The filet is seared with a curry lime flavor; it has this mild euphorically good taste sensation, just the right mixture of piquant and savory. In addition to the flavory goodness, it’s cooked to a certain perfection texture-wise. The mahi comes with apple slaw, coconut rice, and seasonal veggies.
I also got to try a bite of the chicken — and let me tell you something — next time I cook chicken I am going to marinade it in coconut milk and then cook it in thyme – because it was freakin’ delicious! The tasty island chicken was served up with a mound of mashed potatoes and seasonal veggies.
Okay…if you’re starting to see a trend here that the sides leave something to be desired, you’re right. As my friend Sarah put it – sides like boring veggies and potatoes are something one would expect to get at Earl’s. Not at a place specializing in Carribean. And though I do agree with her on this point – it’s no reason to pass over the Reef. They totally wowed me when they brought out the main dishes by saving me from making a terrible mistake.
I had ordered the Mission Tacos from the “small things” section of the menu I also ordered the Grilled Salmon with pineapple and mint salsa as my main. But when eatin’ time had arrived the waitress brought me the tacos and the prawn appetizers. I was heartbroken that my much anticipated salmon was nowhere to be seen. I pointed out the error to the waitress but told her I was happy. I then thanked her. The tacos were huge! ‘small things’ my ass! I had pretty much ordered two mains. Fortunately the geniuses in the kitchen probably looked at the order – said to each other “this stupid girl ordered 2 dinners” and then adjusted my meal accordingly. I say: leave it to the experts. Because I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Anyway — the point is…well, I forget. But the tacos were tasty corn tortillas piled high with jerk chicken, sour cream, diced tomatoes, and lettuce. Very good and I didn’t have to pay for, let alone, attempt to ingest two dinners. Hurrah!
No, I am not done – otherwise I’d be forgetting the drinks! Let’s start with a riddle:
What’s better than 28 different types of rum?
NOTHING!…okay , that wasn’t really a riddle. But the rum selection is impressive. Start with the Screech or Lemonhart, then have a rum cocktail….perhaps a pina colada made with real coconut milk….ohhhhh, and finish off with some of the good stuff, like the Murray McDavid 14 year reserve. Fine, if rum’s not the essence of life in your eyes; there are plenty of other amazing drinks – minty mojitos, super strong ginger beer, and Dragon Stout!!!! Jamaican beers rule but it’s hard to find anything besides Red Stripe (which is good, but played), so bring on the Dragon — which is surprisingly light in flavor and easy to drink.
The Reef. Do it. I’ve been to both Vancouver locations – they have the same goodly menu, comparable service, and the same chill vibe.
Open: 11am -11.30pm
Other locations: 1018 Commercial Drive tel. 604.568.JERK
533 Yates Street, Victoria tel. 250.388.JERK
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