Each month, in our restaurant rumble conversation, MnMo food critics Jason DeRusha and Joy Summers review two restaurants and pick a winner.
Joy: Eat Street’s hot new eatery, Pimento Jamaican Kitchen, launched into the culinary world from the unlikely location of the Burnsville mall food court. Co-owner Tomme Beevas used his grandmother’s recipes to compete on a Food Network show where he won the chance to launch a restaurant with a year’s free rent.
Jason: Pimento’s flavors are too big to be constrained in a food court, so now Beevas and his partners opened a second location alongside the many global tastes on Nicollet Avenue in south Minneapolis.
Joy: I love the chill, comfortable vibe of the room. And the staff at the counter were helpful and genuinely friendly.
â€¨Bone-in Kingston Style Jerk Chicken and Curry Veggies
PHOTOs BY TJ TURNER
Jason: The room is exactly what you’d expect if Bob Marley ran Chipotle. My son loved practicing his Jamaican pronunciation of “wah gwaan” (“What’s going on?”) and “mi deh yah” (“I am here”).
Joy: I did a swan dive into their jerk-marinated bird and carefully—nay, scientifically—tasted every single sauce option from the mild MN Nice to the habanero-spiked Kill Dem Wit It! I loved them all, but Kill’s dark-soy saltiness, blended with a hit of lime and fruity, peppery heat, is my new addiction.
Jason: The One Love Special is a great starter dish—a combo of the jerk chicken and slow-roasted jerk pork. It’s served on a base of coconut rice and beans, with sides of fried plantains coated in a spiced-vanilla glaze, and Jamaican slaw with a bright citrus vinaigrette. It’s a steal at $11!
Boneless Kingston-Style Jerk Chicken
Joy: The sweetness of the plantains and the creamy notes of coconut helped balance out my zealous application of the spicy sauce.
Jason: Even without sauce, the heat will sneak up on you. I highly recommend the Neutralizer sauce for delicate palates. It’s sweet and smoky and does as promised.
Joy: The pork was a little mellower on the spice front, not to mention nice and tender.
Jason: We also liked the Jamaican beef patty—an empanada-style pastry pocket stuffed with spicy meat—but the filling’s consistency was a little thin and soupy, which made the patty messy to eat.
Joy: We liked those, too, but Pimento’s jerk is the star.
Pimento Jamaican Kitchen Quick Tips
Reservations? No, it’s counter-service
Parking: Challenging on the street, but there’s a shared lot north of the restaurant
Drinks: Beer, wine, and Jamaican sodas
September’s restaurant rumble pitted Pimento Jamaican Kitchen’s impressive global fare against Jefe: Urban Hacienda‘s authentic Mexican offerings. Find out which restaurant Jason and Joy chose as the winner in the September issue of MnMo.
2524 Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls., 612-345-5637, pimentokitchen.com