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Owner Maureen “Angela” Hucey proudly offers her jerk chicken with steamed cabbage.
Owner Maureen “Angela” Hucey proudly offers her jerk chicken with steamed cabbage.

Angie’s Bikkles Caribbean Restaurant is movin’ on up. Owner Maureen Hucey recently relocated her business from a quiet spot on West Berry Street near I-35 to a more visible space, this one across the street from John Peter Smith hospital, near where the beloved Chadra Mezza and Grill got its start. (You cannot overestimate the power of good food near a hospital.) Fortunately, the Caribbean décor, music, and food haven’t changed: They’re still top-notch.

For newbies, a good place to start might be the jerk chicken. Typically, jerk seasoning is based on allspice and scotch bonnet peppers (think: habañeros on steroids), but at Angie’s, it was all that plus some delightfully unrecognizable flavors. Hucey was understandably coy about the exact ingredients.

Once we got past the heat, the dish was basically nicely smoky barbecued chicken. The small order included three pieces of dark meat, two slices of slightly sweet, not-too-starchy fried plantains, and a mound of rice and peas with red beans mixed in. Angie’s version of Cajun-style dirty rice was surprisingly tasty and absolutely necessary to temper the overall heat on the plate.

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Another good choice was the beef patty. Resembling an empanada or a British pasty, the item consisted of flaky, non-greasy fried pastry wrapped around a decent amount of ground meat. The crust was slightly savory, and the seasoning on the meat packed far less heat than the jerk dressing on the chicken. The whole thing was a delightful, easy-to-eat package.

Not quite as easy: the Spanish-influenced escoveitched fish. A whole fish, marinated in a brine of vinegar and spices, is served fried alongside more of that rice and some seriously spicy pickled veggies. The fish was fresh and tasty, if a bit difficult to eat. The three of us picked the bones clean but left the head, much to Hucey’s polite disapproval. “Are you gonna leave that?” she asked. “That’s the best part!”

There’s one dish that would make an amazing comfort-food meal with a bowl of that rice. Callalou, a spinach-like veggie native to Jamaica, is done right at Angie’s. Like collard greens down South, the callalou is simmered until tender, when culinary alchemical magic turns the bitter greens sweet.

Another excellent item was the curried goat. Featuring a sauce with an unusual brownish green color courtesy of a healthy amount of turmeric, the meat was soft, not chewy, and, contrary to the norm, didn’t have any funky aftertaste.

Angie’s curry was a notch spicier than the hottest Indian or Thai curry you’ll find in town — if you order it, make sure you’re all beveraged up. Angie’s offers some traditional Jamaican drinks, including sorrel, a sweet-tart cup of cranberry-red goodness seasoned with allspice. The pine ginger was just as advertised: syrupy pineapple punch cut with the fiery wallop of fresh ginger. Both were delicious.

For dessert, the Jamaican fruitcake was a moist, luscious treat. Not only does the finished product not look like a traditional fruitcake with fluorescent green and red cherries, but it contains no chunks of fruit or nuts –– Hucey said she purees currants, raisins, and prunes for the batter. Another key ingredient is rum. Lots of it. Seriously, don’t light a match anywhere near this cake.

We also tried the sweet potato pudding, which was more like a cake, with the texture of a succulent, warm gingerbread.

“Bikkle” is Jamaican patois for snacks or food, though the plates at Angie’s are not a likkle bikkle. One small and one medium entrée plus the fish and a couple of sides produced a staggering amount of leftovers. Also allow extra time while dining here. Although Angie’s offers some grab-and-go items, the cooks prepare everything to order.

 

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Angie’s Bikkles Caribbean Restaurant

1704 Galveston Av, FW. 817-443-5757. 10:30am-8pm Mon-Thu, 10:30am-10pm Fri-Sat. All major credit cards accepted.

Jerk chicken……………………………………. $8

Escoveitched fish……………………………. market price

Beef patty………………………………………. $2.50

Curried goat……………………………………. $13

Sorrel…………………………………………….. $4

Jamaican fruitcake…………………………… $5

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