Silver Chips Online

Where's the beef: local Jamaican eateries reviewed

Negril and Spicy Delight offer up tasty beef patties and island-style cuisine

By Eliza Wapner, Print Managing Features Editor
December 14, 2011
Blazers recall the legendary ďBeef Patty Man,Ē the elusive entrepreneur who brought a little taste of the Caribbean to Blair in the form of beef patties. The Beef Patty Man would sell his goods at prices that would fly up to fifteen dollars a patty, but Blazers would empty their wallets for this exotic lunch. But now that the Beef Patty Man is gone, itís up to Blazers to find their own patty paradise at a much cheaper cost.

Beef patties, flakey turnovers filled with spiced ground beef, are a staple of Caribbean cuisine. Their distinctive beefy and mildly spicy flavoring makes for a delicious meal. Just like peanut butter cannot go without jelly, beef patties are linked to coco bread. The Silver Spring area has many Caribbean restaurants to choose from, but Negril and Spicy Delight are a cut above the crowd when it comes to this Jamaican delicacy.

Located on Thayer Avenue just a short walk away from Downtown Silver Spring, Negril has a signature beef patty so popular you can even find it in the frozen food section of your local supermarket. Their beef patty is deliciousó itís flakey, orange exterior is the perfect shell for the meaty filling. The inside is bursting with the fusion of flavors created by bonnet peppers, curry powder and dried thyme, not to mention the satisfying core of freshly cooked beef.

For those who shy away from spiciness Negrilís famous fruit punch will tame your taste buds. This juice is more like a smoothie Ė it is a thick strawberry-banana mixture has the perfect amount of sweetness to help soothe the spice. But when a beef patty isnít enough to satisfy your hunger, Negril offers a sweet and crumbly plantain pastry. The dish is served cold, but would be even better warmed up for those willing to go the extra mile.
Spicy Delight's beef pattie came in slightly ahead of Negril's because of it's smoother consistency. Ellie Musgrave
Spicy Delight's beef pattie came in slightly ahead of Negril's because of it's smoother consistency.

If youíre looking for a more intimate atmosphere, check out Spicy Delight, on Cedar Avenue right across the street from the Takoma Metro Station. The restaurant was founded in 1995 when Mr.. and Mrs. Spicy saw a vacant storefront on their way home from work. Although neither had any professional cooking experience, Ms. Spicy says that her Jamaican roots were enough training. ďBeing from the Caribbean, you automatically have that Ďsense of kitchen,íĒ says Ms. Spicy. Like Negril, the business sells a variety of Caribbean dishes, from sandwiches to soups to full meals complete with side dishes.

What makes Spicy Delightís beef patty different from Negrilís, is that the texture is a better suited companion to the coco bread. The bread is also slightly larger than Negrilís, which makes for a more satisfying bite. To quench your thirst, Spicy Delight offers a traditional Jamaican-Irish Moss drink, a drink originally created by Irishmen who then brought the recipe to Jamaica. It has a smoothie-like consistency with a nutty cinnamon aroma. While it wasnít for me, it is an unexpected alternative to your everyday Arizona Ice Tea.

Unfortunately, where Spicy Delight falls short is in the dessert section. The restaurant offers a homemade chilled bread pudding block. It is heavy, mushy and lacks flavor. It isnít a total faux pas however, because itís golden raisins add a natural sweetness to the dish.
The beef pattie with coco bread is a traditional Jamaican dish. Leah Muskin-Pierret
The beef pattie with coco bread is a traditional Jamaican dish.

Overall, both restaurants have a lot to offer. If you love a great crunch, Negrilís beef patties reigns supreme, not to mention this option includes great fruit punch and tasty desserts. If you like a more consistent patty, go for Spicy Delight. The pros of this decision is a great atmosphere and if you go back enough times, the owners will know your name. Either way you canít go wrong because both places offer delicious, mouth-watering Caribbean style beef patties.