by Marsha Dubrow
Jamaica has come to Connecticut Avenue, in the new 876 Cafe whose cuisine and atmosphere are as sunny and satisfying as the island itself.
Whether jerked, curried, pulled, BBQed, or escovitched, each dish is perfected by this Jamaican chef. Here’s a sampling of the menu from www.876cafe.com:
“Rasta Pasta,” island gnocchi, ackee, callaloo, fire-roasted red peppers, coconut run-down sauce; Grilled Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee-spiced rubbed hanger steak; Pan-seared red snapper escovitche with guava-rum sauce; Ackee and saltfish wraps. The pumpkin soup, almost a purée enlivened with a dash of scotch bonnet pepper and a dollop of coconut chantilly cream, is just one of several vegan options. For dessert, a plantain tart crumble with cinnamon ice cream and caramel sauce, or mango cheesecake, or…
Lunch entrées range from $6 to $12; dinner entrées, $14 to $18. The cafe opened mid-April, with grand opening events and tastings throughout the week of May 13.
Ingredients of the restaurant’s enticing ambiance include warmly welcoming staff, lemon zest- and pumpkin-colored walls, Marley and other reggae playing softly, plus a gallery of art and photography by Jamaicans and Jamaican Americans.
This “irie” (excellent) spot, half a block from the Van Ness-UDC Metro stop, is “moreish” (so good you’ll want more), as they say in Jamaica.
876 Cafe, 4221-B Connecticut Avenue, N.W., near Van Ness Street, Washington, D.C., Tel: (202) 244-4717, Fax: (202) 244-4749. Open daily 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.