When I arrive at Tasty Jerk at around 12:07 p.m., there is no one to be found. The door is locked and the restaurant is empty inside. Finally I spot an employee and ask what’s going on—the sign says that the restaurant is open from noon to midnight, but clearly it is wrong. The waitress mutters that they will be ready to serve at one, so I sit and wait. A businessman shows up and the wait staff brings him water and utensils. Why was I still forkless? Finally, a waitress tells me that I should order inside.
Tasty Jerk should consider investing in menus. Its casual ordering system clashes with its strong sense of style and its classy clientele.
Despite the restaurant’s minimal service, it offers delicious, authentic Jamaican dishes. Jerk meat, fried dumplings and cassava are all on the menu. I ask for Tasty Jerk’s specialty—chicken with hot pepper sauce. When I request fried dumplings, the waitress informs me that they are out. I order rice and beans instead, and the meal tastes fantastic. The chicken is so spicy my eyes water, and the jerk sauce tastes like thyme and garlic. The food is delicious, but I wouldn’t recommend going unless you love hot food.
By one o’clock, people start to trickle in for their lunch break and the place picks up. Business colleagues and couples munch on spiced chicken and music plays in the background. Although the speakers are emitting American pop rap instead of authentic Jamaican reggae, the volume is perfect—it makes the restaurant seem lively without drowning out conversations.
The patio is stylish and breezy. The tables are constructed out of sectioned tree trunks and the chairs are a mixture of comfy wooden seats and log stools. Potted plants and a thatched roof give the restaurant a beach-like vibe, but it is impossible to forget that you are in Osu when cabs pass frequently and hawkers walk by, occasionally eyeing potential customers over the patio fence.
Later in the week I go out to Tasty Jerk for Dinner. I request the dumplings again but they are still out. This time I settle for chips, called “yam silvers” on the menu, and ask for authentic Jamaican rum. They are out of that too, and offer me Captain Morgan.
At night the patio is lovely, except that now mosquitoes have replaced the flies. The staff is still sullen and quiet, but inside a picture of Bob Marley hangs on the wall and a black light accents the tasteful modern furniture.
Tasty Jerk’s specialty is Jamaican-style meat and bright red sauce that glows with peppers. Jerk cooking involves rubbing or marinating meat in spiced sauce, and the chicken is dark and flavorful as promised. The meat is fantastic—it comes in large yet affordable helpings and is smothered in spice. I’d go back in a heartbeat for the food, if only the servers would act friendly instead of like robots.