Palace of Jamaica

The food scene in Lansing is fairly boring. Every bar seems to be a “sports bar”, and, with few exceptions, exotic food consists of Taco Bell. This post happens to be about one of those rare exceptions.

“Palace of Jamaica” is a new Caribbean take-out place in the downtown area. I happened to see their sign one afternoon so I stopped in for lunch. Lunch specials are $7.50, with dinners at $9.95. I tried the jerk chicken mean which included beans and rice, cabbage and carrots, and plantains. The jerk chicken was just hot enough to be spicy, without having the mouth burning flameouts that you sometimes get at these places. It was fantastic! Generous portions were provided, and I left completely satiated.

I also tried a beef pattie for $2 that was definitely on the hot side, very tasty.

The next day I tried something new – curried goat. I’ve not had goat before so I had nothing to compare it to. Taste wise it was very much like venison, but with the texture of a tough but well cooked beef roast. The side dishes were the same as my last visit.

This is my sort of place…where else in Lansing can you get goat?

The young man that took my order looked at me with a little disbelief when I ordered the goat, so I told him I was trying something new. On that cue he suggested different beverages to go with the meal, so I tried a can of “Irish Moss” which was a sweet, creamy peanut drink in a can. Very reminicent of the Nuts-n-Rum from St. Lucia, but without the rum…like a melted peanut shake. The can proudly exclaimed “Big Bamboo” around the top, and the young man leaned over and whispered to me, “it has lots of protein for, well, you know…” and nodded at Emily, grinning.

Other menu items include curried, baked, and brown stew chicken, stewed beef, curried shrimp, escovietched fish, and for a a couple more dollars, oxtail. They also serve Jerk salad, and all sides are available separately.

The place is very small, with two small tables for two people, and a shelf area with three bar stools for eating in. It has that Jamaican vibe, pictures and posters of Bob Marley on the walls, and an oversize boombox blaring music over piles of CDs. It made hearing the soft-spoken waiter hard to hear, but I did enjoy the music.

“Palace of Jamaica” is this tiny little joint in the middle of a “nowhere” section of downtown – 424 S. Washington, across from where the old Greyhound station used to be. The more developed downtown area is creeping towards it, and hopefully the place will become more popular. If you work downtown it’s worth the walk, and also worth seeking out when you’re looking for a little bit of food-love from Jamrock.

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