Chef Peter Prime Debuts New Caribbean Menu at Bammy’s

The former Cane chef has added new dishes like duck curry, plus a family-style feast.

Chef Peter Prime in kitchen at Bammy's. A nominee for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic. Photograph by Rey Lopez.

Chef Peter Prime turned Trinidadian restaurant Cane into a hit sensation before he split from the H Street Northeast business earlier this year (and broke away from plans to open 14th Street Caribbean restaurant St. James with his sister and former business partner Jeanine Prime). He’s since resurfaced at Navy Yard Caribbean destination Bammy’s, where he’s taking the day-to-day reins of the kitchen from chef co-owners Chris Morgan and Gerald Addison. His revamped menu debuts this week with new a la carte dishes and a $75 family-style option for bigger, more festive feasts.

“At this point, we’re hoping that this really is Peter’s baby,” says Addison. “The only thing we really cared about was keeping jerk chicken on.”

Prime hasn’t changed the jerk chicken recipe, though he’s chopping it up into pieces like you’d find at Jamaican carryouts. He also not messing with staples like rice and peas, coconut-milk collards, and stewed cabbage. Prime says he wants to stay true to the restaurant’s “original vision”—while expressing his own style and Trinidadian roots.

Among Prime’s new additions: a “really rich, intense” Madras-style duck curry with green seasoning (a Caribbean blend of herbs that Prime makes with culantro, scallions, seasoning peppers, garlic, cilantro, and broadleaf thyme). You’ll also find grilled head-on shrimp with jerk butter and cou cou—”the island version of polenta or grits”—as well as a whole red snapper fried then grilled in banana leaves and served with Trinidadian-style coconut curry. Groups can dig into pelau, a paella-like dish with crispy rice and pigeon peas served with a daily selection of meats (think jerk pork belly and brown stew chicken) for $100.

“The favorite part of pelau for a lot of people is the bottom that’s sort of burnt,” Prime says, “so we create a lot of the that.”

Perhaps the biggest change, though, is the introduction of a $75 family-style tasting that will bring together ever-changing on- and off-menu dishes. Prime is taking leftover duck fat from the curry for crispy hash brown-style potatoes. Other highlights might include oxtails—grilled or stewed with butter beans—and braised bone-in short ribs. In total, the feast will include around six dishes.

“I’m going to be really flexible on that; I don’t want anybody leaving hungry,” Prime says. “Or if there’s anything that anybody wants to try, I’m happy to try to incorporate it.”

Bammy’s. 301 Water St., SE.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.