As journalists who have been going to Jamaica every winter since the Clinton administration, my wife and I have a must-eat list—a running catalog of flavors we crave as soon as we step off the plane in Montego Bay. Turns out we have a lot of must-eats: jerk chicken at Scotchies, curry goat and roti at Evelyn’s, callaloo patties at Niah’s Pattie Shack…the list goes on. We never have enough time or enough meals to get to them all, but it wouldn’t be Jamaica if we didn’t try.
When I’m craving Jamaican flavors at home in New York City, I know just where to go: Miss Lily’s. The island connection runs deep at this downtown restaurant; cofounder Paul Salmon also owns my go-to hotel in Jamaica, Rockhouse, perched on a cliff in Negril. The culinary consultant at Miss Lily’s is reggae singer–caterer Suzanne Couch, a self-described “keeper of Jamaican cuisine,” steeped in island foodways.
- Jamaican Greens-Stuffed Patties
- Grilled Corn with Jerk Mayo and Coconut
- Spicy Jerk Chicken
- Fresh Pineapple Salsa
- Salt Cod Fritters with Curry Aioli
- Curry Aioli
- Curried Goat with Apricot-Ginger Chutney
- Apricot-Ginger Chutney
- Hot Pepper Shrimp
- Rice and Peas
Last year, a new chef, a bearded and bearlike New York native named Adam Schop, took charge at Miss Lily’s. That he managed to create note-perfect renditions of tricky Jamaican specialties without ever having set foot on the island is testimony to his considerable skill. But, clearly, a trip was in order.