Negril - Mitchellville
12116 Central Ave.
Mitchellville, MD 20721
Open Monday through Saturday 11 AM to 9 PM, Friday 11 AM to 9:30 PM.
Price Range: Inexpensive
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Not Needed
Jerk chicken; oxtail stew; goat curry; chicken roti; spicy beef pattie; fried red snapper escoveitche; coco bread; peas and rice; banana and rum cake; sorrel juice.
Appetizers, .65 cents to $3.90; entrees, $6.25 to $9.85.
You'll find soulful renditions of sweet-spicy jerk chicken, robust oxtail stew, and other Jamaican specialties at these friendly, order-at-the-counter dining rooms. Assertive spicing and flavors make them hits with the Caribbean community and dependable stops for anyone trying to recapture the flavors of an island vacation.
The DC and Silver Spring locations are smaller and do more takeout, though there are a few tables; Mitchellville and Gaithersburg have roomier dining rooms. In all of them, the cooking rings true, from the floral-tasting house-made sorrel juice (sorrel is a member of the hibiscus family) to the spicy goat curry (watch out for the bones).
Roti, a roll-up of crepelike bread filled with curry--we like the coconutty chicken--makes for a filling meal. Pattie, a flaky turnover with different stuffings, is another pick-up-and-goer--the spicy beef version is tops. For Caribbean heat, try the "escoveitched" fried whole red snapper smothered with tomatoes, onions, and mild and hot peppers. Oxtail stew, a few notches down in spiciness, is robust, the meat tender enough to cut with a fork. Need a reminder of what jerk chicken should be? Negril's is authentically pungent. Buttery coco bread and coconutty rice and peas round off most meals. Slabs of banana and rum cake make for a sweet, islandy finish.