Jimmy'z Kitchen

 

LatAm-Caribbean delights in Wynwood

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Madeline Marr

If it's flavor you crave, do not pass "Go'' and head over to the newly opened Jimmy'z Kitchen in Wynwood. If you need to grab for the salt, then go see a doctor about your taste buds. Just like its Alton Road brother in Miami Beach, this Design District casual eatery run by chef Jimmy Carey hits the spot on so many fronts.

Confused about what to order on the mainly LatAm-Caribbean menu? Mofongo, a mashup of fried green plantains and garlic, olive oil is the must-order around here. The Puerto Rican dish is served as a side but is so filling it can easily make a main. I speak from experience, having lived in San Juan for two years. Many people over there live on this stuff, served like a scoop of ice cream. A trick a friend taught me - crush up some potato chips and sprinkle it on top of the heap. Guilty pleasure extraordinaire.

If you lean more toward the protein front: pollo guisado came highly recommended. It's a superaromatic blend of chicken simmered in a tomato sauce laced with peppers and onions over basmati rice. The carne guisada (beef stew) hit a home run with ridiculously tender beef chunks resting in a homemade, soupy mix of potatoes, carrots and celery. Another entree to get your mouth's, um, mojo going: the Cuban pulled pork in a garlicky orange sauce that rocked. It's so tender you don't need a knife. Black beans and rice round out the package.

What didn't hold up too well in the delivery was the steak frites. Described as a "grilled sirloin steak topped with roasted garlic/truffle maitre'd butter,'' but I found the meat chewy and underdone and the fries soggy. Carey used to push out his share of steaks for Morton's and Ruth's Chris (that explains the crazy good, seasoned pat of butter), but if you order that monster, stay in the restaurant, don't do takeout.

On the lighter side, Jimmy'z caters to the lunch crowd with paninis (try the roasted veggie with eggplant, zucchini, red peppers and goat cheese), salads (tops is the seared ahi tuna over mixed greens in a soy ginger vinaigrette dressing); and sandwiches (look no further than the in-house roasted turkey breast). Finish up your feast with mango cheesecake or caramel flan, a no-brainer.

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