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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Uppa Yard’s Jamaican Curry and Jerk Chicken

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Green, yellow and black decor? Bob Marley pictures? The toasting of a dancehall reggae mix tape mingling with savory aromas in the air? Check!  If the patois name doesn’t give away the ethnicity of the cuisine, the surroundings at Uppa Yard (4925 W. Fond du Lac Ave.) surely signal Jamaica. A combination dinner of curried goat and oxtails with beans and rice makes a fine embarkation point, with tender meats running a gamut of spiciness with a generous portion of smoky-tasting grains and legumes that could be a meal unto themselves. Sides include steamed cabbage flecked with strands of red and green bell pepper, as well as fried-lengthwise cuts of plantain. The latter aren’t the easiest to cut with Uppa Yard’s plastic utensils so biting them from one’s fork may have to suffice. Chicken is the menu’s most plentiful meat; curry and jerk seasoning for the fowl may be the best-known Jamaican preparations, but brown stew is worth a try as well. Tropical Rhythms juice drinks and kola champagne—like a cream soda with a hint of ginger beer bite—number among the tastier Jamaican ways to wash down Uppa fare. It’s great to have such tropical eating available this deep into the Northwest Side years after the long-ago lamented demises of Horace & Rita’s and Spice Island.