Ate it for $8: The Island Spot in Carrollton

Kristy Alpert’s latest report on where you can find great food for less than eight dollars.

Trying desperately to satiate the serious travel bug I’ve come down with lately, and gearing up for some reggae tunes from a local-Texas-boy at the Cas Haley concert later that night, I grabbed my beach-bumming friend and headed out to The Island Spot in Carrollton. I figured if I couldn’t be on a beach in the Caribbean, at least I could eat some Caribbean fare. Lucky for us, The Island Spot is authentically Caribbean, down to the chill attitudes and friendly smiles.

As soon as I got out of my car, I could see through the window and watched a waiter rush from the back of the restaurant to open the door and greet us with an overly excited, “Welcome to The Island Spot. So glad you’re here mon!”

Jump for jerk

We ordered our food and sat back to enjoy the laid back atmosphere and smooth reggae beats coming from a flat screen on the back wall. This place was opened last year by Jamaican-born Charis Clemetson and several Caribbean partners. Their passion to create an Island authentic experience is evident: a steel drum band plays every Friday night. Dancing is optional but inevitable.

The food came out on two large platters. My lunchmate went with the jerk chicken lunch special ($5.99) with homemade jerk BBQ sauce (sweet with a hint of spice), red beans and rice, and sautéed veggies (a mix of shredded carrots, cabbage, and onions). I went with the jerk chicken entrée ($7.95) with their spicy, homemade Jerk sauce, rice and peas, and plantains. Somehow my rice and peas turned into red beans and rice from the time I ordered, but honestly, they looked so good I didn’t totally care.

Both entrees were bone-in chicken, marinated and smoked in a special The Island Spot’s blend of jerk seasoning, with sauce on the side. The chicken didn’t need any sauce at all and was so tender the meat fell off the bone at the touch of a fork. (I would bathe in the rub they put on that chicken.) Although the red beans and rice lacked flavor, my friend doused hers with BBQ jerk sauce. I hope they start selling their sauces, because both were outstanding. The BBQ was slightly sweet and perfectly spicy, and my straight-up spicy jerk sauce kept my nose running for hours after I’d left. The plantains were perfect. ‘Nuff said. Lightly crispy and warm from the pan on the outside and soft and subtly sweet inside.

Overall: Great way to get a taste of the Caribbean in Dallas. The lunch portion was large, and the full entrée was too much to eat in one setting. This is a great value and they have some great sides–coco bread, bammy, fritters, doppers—that I have yet to sample. They also have beef or chicken patties ($2.50) like the ones I ate on my honeymoon in Jamaica three years ago. The only thing missing from is a margarita machine (IJS), but Clemetson and her team are hoping to get approved for their license in July. They will begin offering a weekly Sunday brunch (buffet style), kicking off this Sunday, 6/19, for Father’s Day. Part of the beauty of The Island Spot is that it is still relatively undiscovered, so get there before everyone starts realizing how great this place is.

2661 Midway Rd., Ste 106, Carrollton 75006

Well Dishers? Where should I go next for my $8 lunch?

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