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Island Hut, Diner Style Caribbean in Wheaton - Owner Phillip Johnson in the old Irene's Pupusas III space - Closed


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As reported in the Wheaton Patch Island Hut has been open for a few weeks. I had seen the "coming soon" signs, and also noticed when driving by last week that it looked like it had finally opened. No chance for me to try it out yet , however. Please post if someone else gets a chance to check it out. As ethnic as Wheaton is, I think this is the first Caribbean restaurant.

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As a matter of fact, I stopped by Island Hut yesterday and had some takeout for lunch.

The menu is mostly stews and curries at this point. There's a seafood section with baked tilapia, salmon, jerk or curried shrimp, and escoveitch king fish.

Chicken is served baked, curried, fried, brown stewed, jerked, or BBQ. Other entrees include roast beef, stew beef, stew peas, oxtail, meat balls, curry goat, jerk or stew pork, cow foot, bbq ribs, and various salads. Sides include fried dumplings, fried plantains, corn bread, rice and peas, mac and cheese, coleslaw, yucca, and bammy.

Not on the actual menu but in clear view was a large case with beef and chicken patties. Rotis aren't currently on the menu. The chef explained to me that their rotis are supplied to them and none had come in yet this week. I'd love to see that as a regular menu item.

I ordered the jerk pork, curried chicken, and a beef patty. The patty looked pretty big but the actual amount of filling was less than anticipated. It wasn't very spicy and the flavour somewhat muted, but the pastry itself was excellent and flaky without being oily. For $2, it was a very good way to take the edge off my hunger. The jerk pork was easily our favorite. Not too dry, lots of large chunks of what appeared to be pork shoulder, heavily spiced and with quite a kick - just the way I like it. It was served on top of rice (which I suspect was parboiled rice - not my favorite but you can't really complain too much) and they let you chose which gravy you wanted (curry, stew, etc). The curried chicken was a little milder than what I was hoping for - not quite the rich flavour that you get from the curry chicken at, say, Tropicana. My gut feel is that it was lacking onions in the gravy. I like the way onions can break down to add both body and sweetness to a curry. But still, not bad. I suspect a bit of scotch bonnet sauce would have perked this up beautifully.

I had a very nice chat with the chef - a very friendly lady who is happy to take a few minutes to talk with her customers (a certain amount of irony, in this neck of the woods). The really exciting thing is that they're going to start doing a Jamaican style breakfast on Saturdays. The chef said they'll serve things like boiled dumplings, liver, callaloo, porridges, and my favorite - salt fish and ackee! They'll be open at 6am and I can't wait to try their breakfast.

All in all, I'm VERY happy to see some Caribbean food come to Wheaton and the initial visit made Lisa and I quite happy. We'll be regulars.

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Short follow up on the Saturday Jamaican breakfast. Saltfish and ackee was absolutely wonderful. Accompanied by fried plantains and dumplings. Sweetness and heat from various peppers and onions, along with mild saltiness of the fish was just perfect. A little pricey for breakfast ($11.75) but worth every damn penny. Can't wait until next Saturday.

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I was there last night with one adult and one twelve-year-old-girl. The place is fairly small with a counter with ten seats or so with another couner along the winter. We had curried chicken and the kid did two meat pies besides her chicken. The adult who was not me has a whole red snapper that she liked immensely. No alocoholic drinks but a nice assortment of exotic soft drinks in two cases. The cost of all of this, including two dinners to go, was seventy-three dollars. If you don't mind unfancy, it is a fabulous bargain.

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yeah - I noticed that last week. Frankly, I wasn't surprised. We loved the food there, but the wait time was incredibly long. We kept giving it a chance, hoping they'd get things running smoothly. But we gave up after it took 1.5 hrs to do a two item breakfast order. It's a shame - they were nice people who made good food.

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