The Hartford Food Guy returns to review Scott's Jamaican Bakery. A Sad City favorite,
This past Saturday Mrs. HFG and I took a drive up North Main Street to Scott’s Jamaican Bakery, which is a pillar of both the North End as well as Hartford’s small business community. So much so that Scott’s operates three locations (North Main Street, Albany Avenue and Blue Hills Avenue), as well as a wholesale and production operation on Windsor Street. Scott’s has been around for over 30 years and pretty much anyone you talk to with strong roots in the West Indian community, or in the North End, Windsor, or Bloomfield will tell you that the Scott family is highly respected and its support and opinion is regularly sought on a wide range of political, business, and community issues.
My wife and I decided that we would order enough for lunch and dinner, so we opted for 2 orders of coco bread ($2.75 each), 2 beef patties ($1.55 each), 2 chicken patties ($1.55 each) and a large order of curried goat ($9.60). For about $20 it’s hard, if not impossible, to come up with 2 better meals.
Coco bread is just that, bread made some coconut milk. It is heavy and sweet, with a very nice taste. In fact, the taste reminded me and Mrs. HFG of the bread you get at Shish Kebab House of Afghanistan, though coco bread is somewhat sweeter and much heavier. It is also delicious and a perfect compliment to spicy food.
Speaking of spicy food, all of the patties were outstanding. They come in pastry, which was not too heavy and the flavor of the patties was excellent and the texture just right. Both Mrs. HFG and I favored the chicken patties over the beef, but both were very good.
Curried goat is not something you will find at most restaurants, so it was almost a must. The HFG has had goat before at and Ethiopian restaurant whose name escapes me (not the Abyssinian in Hartford) and though I liked well enough, though I can’t say I was thrilled at the prospect of having it again. Mrs. HFG, however, is a big fan of goat, having had a belly full of it while she was stationed in Bosnia serving in the U.S. Army (yes, Mrs. HFG not only can whip up a great meal, she can also blow you away with a .50 cal machine gun).
Goat has a good taste, like venison, but it is somewhat gamy, which isn’t always a good thing. Fortunately, any of the gamy downside was washed away by the delicious curry. I wouldn’t say that the curry at Scott’s is the best I’ve ever had, but it was perfectly good. The curried goat also came with a generous portion of rice and beans, as well as what appeared to be a type of slaw, both of which helped offset the heat and spiciness of the curried goat.
On the whole, it was two delicious and very, very reasonably priced meals.
I haven’t been to the Scott’s on Albany or Blue Hills Avenue, but the one on North Main Street is a down and dirty, no bullshit affair. You walk in, you order, you get your order, you pay and you leave. Maybe you take a copy of a community newspaper or a flyer with you. That’s it. There isn’t any cheery décor, or any cleverly-named menu items, or even perky over-educated under-achieving help with earrings in strange places that can tell you where the wheat they use was grown. It’s just a bunch of hardworking and very nice people pushing out order after order of delicious food and baked goods.
There is a large Jamaican population in this area, so there are other Jamaican places you can go, but they aren’t going to be better than Scott’s. Try it, you won’t be sorry.