Choices

Caribbean
Memorable
One of the best
Michael Stern | September 07, 2017
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Nattie Mitchell, who opened Choices in June, 2017, along with her husband (who’s the chef), hopes to one day move from her remote location off Highway 19 to a building closer to downtown. She wants to expand the current menu to include innovative alfredos and casseroles that her husband will create. I have little doubt that a classier, fuller-menu version of this restaurant would be a good thing; but for now, the humble former convenience store with its focused Caribbean menu is quite alright with me. In fact, it is a Roadfood gem.

If there’s better jerk chicken between here and Jamaica, I’ve yet to taste it. Continue reading

Nattie Mitchell, who opened Choices in June, 2017, along with her husband (who’s the chef), hopes to one day move from her remote location off Highway 19 to a building closer to downtown. She wants to expand the current menu to include innovative alfredos and casseroles that her husband will create. I have little doubt that a classier, fuller-menu version of this restaurant would be a good thing; but for now, the humble former convenience store with its focused Caribbean menu is quite alright with me. In fact, it is a Roadfood gem.

If there’s better jerk chicken between here and Jamaica, I’ve yet to taste it. Moist and tender,  glowing with spice and smoky savor, it is a meal that has me gnawing every stitch of meat from every bone, then licking every bit of juice off every finger.

As a side dish for any entree, steamed cabbage is a must. This is a Jamaican favorite: tender leaves of the earthy cruciferous vegetable mixed with sweet carrots to become a tender taste sensation. Nor should one ignore plantains, grilled to caramelized decadence with edges that verge on candy-crisp. Add a big, puffy sweet pillow of coco bread and you have a grand meal not soon forgotten.

Curried shrimp are less exclamatory than the jerk dishes but no less intriguing: big pink crescents veiled with with a soft rain of spice and laced with strips of red pepper. Shrimp are easy to eat, but you must work to get nuggets of tender curried goat from the bone. The meat is peppery and infused with spice, but not ferociously so; and its flavor is not the least bit gamey. It is served with sheaves of roti, the Jamaican unleavened wheat bread reminiscent of Sonoran tortillas. Effort also is required to find nuggets of meat in a plate of oxtails, which are at least 1/3 bone (a bother) and 1/3 fat (a wicked delight), but those pieces of meat are positively erotic in the amount of pleasure they deliver: so hugely beefy and so, so tender that they quite literally melt on your tongue.

Choices offers a casual, laid-back eating experience. Sometimes there is table service, and sometimes you step up to the back counter to place an order. Find a seat, to which a member of the staff brings the meal. Tables are covered with lacy cloths, the cloths covered with easy-wipe plastic. The plastic makes sense since a lot of this food — oxtails and goat in particular — is best tackled with fingers rather than fork. A roll of paper towels is provided on every table. It’s a fine mess!

Note: If you are planning to visit Choices, do call ahead to make sure it is open. In my experience the lunch and dinner hours tend to be flexible.

Dishes to try
Choices, Jerk Chicken
Jerk Chicken
Must-Try
Jerk chicken is smoky, spicy, and succulent. A must-eat dish!
Choices, Plantains
Plantains
Must-Try
Few foods caramelize as well as plantains, which are sweet and tender with slightly chewy edges.
Choices, Curried Shrimp
Curried Shrimp
Must-Try
Big, firm shrimp are bathed in mild, infinitely intriguing curry.
Choices, Cabbage
Cabbage
Must-Try
The true vegetable sweetness of carrots combines with the earthy potency of long-steamed cabbage to become a memorable side dish.
Choices, Oxtails
Oxtails
Must-Try
A nugget of melting-tender oxtail, secured from close to the bone.
Choices, Jerk Shrimp
Jerk Shrimp
Must-Try
A hail of hot jerk seasoning is the right stuff for snapping-sweet shrimp.
Choices, Curried Chicken
Curried Chicken
Must-Try
Curried chicken: brilliantly seasoned and tender to a fare-thee-well
Choices, Rum Cake
Rum Cake
Must-Try
Rum cake, made by Nettie's Florida friend, is an occasional dessert special. It is intoxicating in all sorts of ways,
Choices, Coco Bread
Coco Bread
Coconut milk gives puffy yeast bread a dash of sweetness that is especially welcome when mopping spicy juices off a plate.
Choices, Roti Goat
Roti Goat
Curried goat pops with pepper and spice but is surprisingly docile (not gamey).
Choices, Vegan Curry
Vegan Curry
Choices' curry seasoning is so wonderful that it makes even vegan nuggets delicious.
Directions and Hours
Information and Policies
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
No
Outdoor Seating
No
Reservations Accepted
No
Delivery Available
No
Takeout Counter
Yes