As far as Jamaican cuisine goes, nothing is as ubiquitous as Jerk “insert protein of choice,” and Banana Hut is serving a decent iteration of it. It can be said that you can judge how satisfying a Jamaican restaurant will be based off of its jerk dishes. Jerk cooking is a style of cooking in which meats are dry rubbed in a special blend of spices known as Jamaican jerk spice. Although certain restaurants have their specific proportions and additions of different things to their spice blend, it is safe to say that they all contain allspice and scotch bonnet peppers in some way, shape, or form. The allspice adds sweetness and some smokiness to the dish while the peppers add heat. Other ingredients may include cinnamon, cloves, thyme, garlic, and salt.
At Banana Hut, you can order many dishes using the Jerk seasoning, but I usually go for the chicken. For less than $10, you are served half a chicken with enough rice and peas to feed a family, plantains, and an after-thought of a salad. Getting your Styrofoam plate, you are immediately impressed by the size and weight of what was just handed to you. The smell emanating from the container is alluring due to the menagerie of spices used for the rub. Once you open the container, your eyes are enthralled by the enormity of what is in front you, and you do not know where to begin. I usually pick up a piece of chicken and begin to eat my way through the bird. The spice is not as hot as I normally look for in a jerk blend, but the sweetness and smokiness coming from the allspice is ever-present. The garlic is subtle but still noticeable, adding some depth to the chicken. The major drawback from the dish is that it tends to be quite dry, even when you stay away from the breast. The thighs and legs are dry as well, leading to a less than delectable experience. The chicken is good, but it can be better.
The sides are decent as well, with the rice and peas being more impressive due to the serving size than because of their taste. The plantains are dry and served cold, but the sweetness is a nice foil to the heat coming from the chicken. The salad, as mentioned previously, is just an after thought that is served as some sort of garnish.
Although it seems that I do not like Banana Hut’s jerk chicken, that is not the case. On the other hand, I come here fairly often. The chicken could stand to be improved a bit, but it is by no means inedible. I would change certain things if I could, but that does not mean that I will not return to Banana Hut.
13740 SW 152nd St,
Miami, FL 33177
By food blogger, Santiago Cardona