St. Mary's Restaurant and Carry-Out
Entering this trim Jamaican carry-out in Charles Village brings a two-pronged assault: loud reggae tunes and luscious aromas. "Restaurant" is a stretch; orders are taken from behind a Plexiglas shroud, à la an urban package-goods store. A lone pair of stools is the only seating.
The menu hits the island's curry and jerk standards, though some selections may be unavailable. On our noontime visit, the jerk dishes are still cooking. We move on. Curry goat offers tender, flake-off-the-bone nubs of not-too-gamy goat flesh in aromatic golden sauce. Curry chicken does the same, only with bird flesh. Both come with generous portions of rice and peas, a round steamed bun, and a thick slice of steamed, curry-infused potato.
"Small" dinners are $7, "large" dinners a dollar more. A small goat and a small chicken, plus a whole fish, end up being lunch for four, with leftovers. The fish is supposed to be $9 or $10, but the chef says his snapper is so huge he has to charge $11. Understandable. Even with the fish doubled over, its toothy jaws poke from the Styrofoam carton. A combination of steaming and stir-frying gives the piscine giant a spicy orange crust and a moist, meaty middle. Though it's problematic to work through the skin and bones with only plastic utensils, with digging we're able to withdraw thumb-sized wads of succulent white flesh, which we wash down with a bottle of snappy Jamaican ginger beer ($1). Yum. Burp.