It takes a brave soul to set up shop on Atwells and not be an Italian restaurant. But I'm glad that there are restaurateurs who work up the courage- I don't think any street or neighborhood should limit itself to one type of cuisine. I want to go to Atwells and know that I have some options available, and I think Tina's Caribbean might be my new non-Italian top choice.
I had the Curried Chicken that is generously served with cabbage, collard greens, rice and peas (red beans), and fried plantains:
The chicken was extremely tender from being slow cooked, and very aromatic. I had never had Jamaican curry before, and I had no idea what to expect. Curry was introduced to the Caribbean with the influx of Indian's who came to Jamaica in the 1830's so the curry powder itself is similar to that of West Indian curry with turmeric, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and coriander seeds and the rest of the sauce includes coconut milk, onions, and garlic. But a key ingredient to Jamaican cooking is the Scotch Bonnet chili pepper, which gives curries and jerk dishes their distinct flavor.
I think that this dish could have used a little more scotch bonnet chili, because it didn't have enough heat for me. But the mixture of all of the flavors from the bitter collards, sweet plantains, vinegary cabbage, and salty curry was unbelievable. I liked having a plate with so many options that all exposed me to the flavors of Jamaica. And for $10, this meal was also a great deal. While there, we also tried the sweetened cucumber juice with ginger and I highly recommend it. It was refreshing and had a wonderful ginger kick to it that complimented the crispness of the cucumber flavor.