2 Fleur
Average check per person $5-$15
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchNo Lunch SundayLunch MondayLunch TuesdayLunch WednesdayLunch ThursdayLunch FridayLunch Saturday
DinnerNo Dinner SundayDinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday

Boswell’s Jamaican Grill

Mid-City: 3521 Tulane Ave. 504-482-6600. Map.
Very Casual
DS MC V

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
A storefront in a commercial neighborhood that has seen better times, Boswell’s is a clean, pleasant cafe serving the everyday food of Jamaica. Although the names of Jamaican dishes seem unfamiliar, the cooking of this island nation resembles other Creole cuisines–including our own. You’ll hear the restaurant’s many fans say it’s “authentic,” but the meats and fish cooked here are much better than those in Jamaica.

WHAT’S GOOD
Jerk pork and chicken–Jamaican barbecue–is the menu mainstay. It’s not as smoky as Texas style, but has more of a grilled aspect and sharp pepper levels. Curried dishes are two steps removed from the Indian style, with less of the aromatic spices than Indian curry but more pepper. A good bit of seafood, including the unique pickled-and-grilled “escoveiched” fish and fried fish. The most “authentic” dishes are the vegetable sides, especially rice and peas and callaloo, the Jamaican equivalents of red beans and rice and stewed greens.

BACKSTORY
Kingston native Boswell Atkinson opened his combination grocery store and restaurant in 2000 on Broad Street. It was wiped out by Katrina, but after a couple of years he reopened in a warehouse on Tulane Avenue. (It’s hard to see; park in the second block past Jefferson Davis Parkway, and approach on foot.)

DINING ROOM
The dining area is much more pleasant than the forbidding industrial exterior. Most of the atmosphere is created by Boswell himself, who is quite a talker and will be very pleased to engage you in conversation about his homeland. Service is minimal: disposable plates and cutlery. Prices are very low and the staff is pleasant.

ESSENTIAL DISHES
sandwiches
»Fried fish poor boy
Fried shrimp poor boy
Jerk chicken poor boy
»Jerk pork poor boy
Entrees
»Jerk chicken
»Jerk pork
»Curried chicken
»Curried goat
Curry shrimp
»Fried or steamed fish fillet
»Fried or steamed whole fish
»Escoveiched fish (marinated and grilled)
Brown stew fish
»Vegetable platter (rice and peas, callaloo, plantains, salad
Veggie roti (like an open-face taco)
Veggie pattie
Daily specials
Sides (entrees come with two)
»Callaloo (stewed greens)
White rice
French fries
Steamed vegetables
Fried plantains
Desserts
Irish moss (made of seaweed and syrup–better than it sounds)

FOR BEST RESULTS
If you’ve never had Jamaican food before, take a leap of faith and go for it. Its flavor and ingredient profiles have much in common with New Orleans food. If you know Jamaican food well from either Jamaica or a bigger American city, lower your expectations a notch. This is a minimal operation. You want a Red Stripe beer, of course.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
It would be great to see this place blossom into a more substantial restaurant. Boswell is a terrific cook.

FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment -2
  • Consistency +1
  • Service-1
  • Value +2
  • Attitude +2
  • Wine & Bar
  • Hipness +1
  • Local Color +1

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

  • Open Monday lunch and dinner
  • Dinner ends early (6 p.m. MO TU WE; 8 p.m. TH FR SA)
  • Open all afternoon
  • Unusually large servings
  • Quick, good meal
  • Easy, nearby parking
  • No reservations

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