Ahhh…Now, THIS is how you do Jamaican Jerk Chicken! My recent stop into Rocksteady Jamaican Jerk Café in Boca Raton made me remember that there ARE good jerk restaurants around South Florida. This small nicely decorated restaurant fills up fast, so be prepared to wait or have a ‘to-go’ plan.
Rocksteady Jamaican Jerk Café is located in a small strip mall on US1 in Boca Raton. You might just drive by this restaurant if you don’t have your eyes peeled. I was lucky today as it wasn’t that busy so I easily found a table inside (they have a few tables outside as well). Only one server was working both take-out and dine-in customers and she greeted me right away. When I said I’m dining in, she told me to sit wherever I liked. The inside is on the small side and seating is a premium. There are a few tables for two and maybe six tables that seat four. Rocksteady looks like it’s a modern step up from your jerk shacks and other fast service Jamaican spots. They put some effort in making the restaurant look comfortable and you do feel welcome to just relax. The bold colors seem to work along with some of the ‘eclectic’ knick-knacks that are all around the place. They even have a little store section where you can buy some jerk sauce and t-shirts.
The menu is larger than expected with your Jamaican staples like jerk chicken, curry chicken, curry goat and oxtail. They also had an impressive selection of sandwiches and wraps along with some nice looking salads. I settled on a jerk chicken sandwich and a soda. My server did a great job working the carry out orders along with the dining room always checking on everyone and keeping us updated on our orders. I did hear that they ran out of goat, so if that is your favorite, you might want to get here early. The speed on the food prep here seemed to vary a bit. The table next to me ordered the oxtail and curry chicken and that seemed to fly out of the kitchen. I did see lots of steam, so I was happy to see that food temperature should not be an issue here. I was told that my order will take a bit longer as they were grilling some fresh jerk chicken. I was ok with that and I just relaxed as the Jamaican music made me feel like I was on vacation.
I ordered the Rocksteady Jerk Chicken Sandwich – $10.95, which is grilled jerk chicken with avocado, bacon, tomato, plantain, provolone cheese & house made jerk mango mayo on Coco Bread. The sandwich comes with a side salad and I swapped jerk fries out for an additional $1.20. The food took about 20 minutes to come out and it did come out hot. The sandwich was stacked high and was much larger than I expected. They use the same chicken for the jerk sandwich as they use for the regular jerk chicken plate – naturally raised, boneless and skinless. The chicken was amazing. Tender and juicy with a grill taste that complimented the spicy jerk seasoning. Their version of jerk had more of a spicy kick than other’s I’ve had, which I really liked. The side jerk sauce was also really good and went well with the chicken. The lettuce, tomato and avocado were all fresh and the bacon was smoky. The bread was a bit tougher than I would have liked and I removed it after a few bites. The fries were thin frozen fries, but they were covered in jerk seasoning which elevated them from just ‘eh’ to pretty good. Dipping the fries in the jerk sauce was addicting too.
On my next visit, I’d skip the sandwich and go for the jerk chicken special. The price for the jerk sandwich was a bit on the higher side and if you swap the salad for fries it adds on another $1.20. The jerk chicken lunch special is only $7.95 and the portion looked pretty large, so that looked like a great value. My server was quick with the bill and overall the only slow point was the kitchen, but at 20 minutes, it’s not really that bad. I’m really glad I found this place and can’t wait to stop in again.
Some tips for you next visit:
Soda is sold by the can, no free refills.
Office party catering is available.
They also own Rocksteady Jamaican Bistro just north on US1.
Rocksteady Jamaican Jerk Bistro is closed on Sundays.
Rocksteady Jamaican Jerk Café is located at 2399 N Federal Hwy Boca Raton, FL.