On this edition of #OnTapEats, I traveled up Southwest Highway for some Jamaican cuisine to St. Bess Jerk at 4838 West 79th Street in Burbank.
This suggestion came courtesy of C.W. Harris. If you follow C.W. on social media, you know that he’s as big of a fan of food as I am and he knows his way around Chicago. I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed.
Is St. Bess Jerk The Best?
The sign outside says, “Best Jerk Chicken.” The sign wasn’t lying. I haven’t had a whole lot of jerk chicken, but if there is something that tastes better, I’d love to try it out. Though it might be hard to find after this one.
I ordered the mixed dinner of half white meat/half dark meat. For $13.99 you get what seemed like half of a chicken with a generous side of macaroni and cheese and candied yams. Each dinner also comes with a slice of bread and a pile of rice and beans. Trust me, you’ll have leftovers.
First, the chicken. I don’t normally order white meat as it can easily be too dry but they said they were the best so I gave it shot. I wasn’t disappointed. St. Bess Jerk's white meat jerk chicken hit the spot with plenty of flavor that's tender and juicy.
If you’re concerned about spice, don’t be. While this is seasoned with a kick, it doesn’t leave you running for a glass of water. It’s simply well seasoned and full of Caribbean flavor.
As for the sides, the macaroni was cheesy and a little peppery with a nice texture. The yams were sweet and delicious, almost worthy of being a dessert. The beans and rice at the bottom of the chicken were a perfect Caribbean complement.
A Big Menu With Big Flavor
The menu doesn’t stop at chicken, it only begins there. My daughter tried the jerk catfish which was tasty and my wife had the oxtail dinner along with cabbage and plantains. She said the oxtail reminded her of the way her mom used to make it, so that was a winner too.
I stayed away from the cabbage, not my thing, but I had to have a plantain. Living with a Cuban wife who can cook, I’ve had my share of the banana-like delicacy. The St. Bess version was on point.
Don’t forget to try one of the many Jamaican sodas they have for sale. I went with the Pineapple Ginger Beer and the sweetness complemented the strong flavors from the chicken and the beans and rice.
If you decide on going, be prepared for a take-out order. They have a few chairs inside but with the amount of food you get, you really need a big table and lots of napkins to properly enjoy the meal.
Oh, I'll Be Back
I’m sorry, but I was not able to make room for either the banana pudding or peach cobbler. I guess I’ll just have to go back.
If Burbank isn’t convenient for you, there is also a location in northwest Chicago at 5729 North Northwest Highway in the Norwood Park neighborhood.
Once again, the public has not led me astray in food decisions. St. Bess Jerk is definitely worth the trip and the dollars for Jamaican cuisine.