Have you tried this jerk chicken?

Caribbean Chicken & Fish on East Ponce de Leon Avenue in Scottdale makes standout jerk chicken. / Photo by Ligaya Figueras

Dish of the week: Jerk chicken at Caribbean Chicken & Fish

How many times have I driven by that decrepit building at 3358 East Ponce de Leon Avenue? With iron bars covering the front door and a mish-mash of signs hanging on the side, it looks like either a quick loan store or a junkyard office. But the smell. Oh, the smell! You can smell smoked chicken a block away. I’m kicking myself that I hadn’t stopped sooner.

Caribbean Chicken & Fish is a shack. And shacks are some of the best places to find good grub on a dime. At this restaurant – one so tiny that no more than three people can squeeze in front of the counter – you’ll find standout jerk chicken.

That chicken is tender and juicy; smoke permeates deep into the meat. Murky-looking jerk sauce is not a pretty sight but it is an absolute delight for the taste buds, as it’s laden with the kind of heat that clears the sinuses and holds a complexity of flavors that’ll have you guessing at the recipe. If you’re wary of spice, order the sauce on the side.

Portions at Caribbean Chicken & Fish are generous. Pictured, clockwise from left: Caribbean rice and peas, jerk chicken, collard greens, saltfish patty, callaloo, jerk wings. / Photo by Ligaya Figueras

A modest order of a quarter chicken – leg, thigh and breast ­– is rough chopped and piled inside a plastic to-go container. It is so much meat that the lid will barely stay shut. This is a quarter chicken?

The parade of generous portions continues with sides like mild Caribbean rice and peas, mac-and-cheese, collards or callaloo.

Now, where will you eat it? Well, there is a single round metal picnic table inside. There’s also that two-person patio table outside. Or, you can do as everyone else does: Take it to your car with full intention of eating it at home and watch it disappear on the drive.

Caribbean Chicken & Fish, 3358 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., Scottdale, 678-705-3452, Facebook: Delight Your Palate Caribbean Chicken & Fish

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