A friend took me to this hole in the wall, Ripe Kitchen and Bar, in Mount Vernon, NY, for Jamaican and Caribbean food. After we parked, the first thing he said to me was, “Don’t worry. The neighborhood is ok.” Since I grew up in the “busy” part of the Bronx and have good situational awareness, I was not bothered by the colorful and diverse showing of the people and the bars on the windows. But I was surprised after we entered the dark restaurant and went to the back yard. The backyard felt like an oasis on this sunny August afternoon in NY. See picture below.
The food was excellent! The best dish of the night was the “Big-Ass” steak! I had the curried goat and it was no comparison to the steak. I was very happy that my friend shared his steak. The steak was marinated thoroughly and the char was nice and even on the outside. Inside, it was as ordered – medium. It was tender and it was tasty. When my friend ordered the steak, he said to the waitress, “Medium. Medium.” Not once but twice and with a head nod and eye contact. Later, he explained that when a black man orders a medium steak, one must insist otherwise the presumption is “a black man wants a well-done steak no matter what he says.” That was education for me.
This is the banana boat, plantain with salted fish, fish roes and sour cream. The contrast between the sweet and the salty was interesting, not necessarily my cup of tea since the salted fish reminded me of the Taiwanese sticky rice bun. The worlds did not collide for me on this dish.
This is jerk chicken wings. Pretty awesome. A little tangy and a little crispy.
This is the curried goat which was much better the next day as lunch. But heavy. Be aware – it’s heavy.
All in all, it was a great dinner in Mount Vernon where I could feel and taste the winds and the sands of the Caribbean. I highly recommend the place and the “Big-Ass” steak!
This experience took place at the
Ripe Kitchen & Bar
151 West Sandford Boulevard
Mount Vernon, NY 10550