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YaMon on Howard - Jerk done right

YaMon on Howard - Jerk done right
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  • YaMon on Howard - Jerk done right

    Post #1 - May 28th, 2018, 4:34 pm
    Post #1 - May 28th, 2018, 4:34 pm Post #1 - May 28th, 2018, 4:34 pm
    I haven't posted on this board for several years, mostly because I gained about 50 lbs. hanging with y'all. Anyhow, what prompts me to break my silence is a new Jamaican place (in the space formerly occupied by Fat Boy's) at 1636 Howard in Chicago near Howard and Ashland (not to be confused with the same address in Evanston). These guys do Jerk the way it should be, marinated and dry rubbed then smoked over Hickory and Pimento wood (imported from Jamaica) . It is served with a thin but spicy brown sauce on the side. Too many Chicagoans are used to chicken that is baked in thick Jerk sauce almost like a stew. That just ain't right.

    YaMon also makes Jerk Catfish, Jerk Rib Tips, Curried Goat, phenomenal Ox Tails, plus all the sides: rice and peas, plantains, stewed cabbage etc. They make their own bread pudding and delicious homemade ginger beer (feel the burn). Perhaps my favorite are their so-called "Jerk Tacos" which are more like wraps or burritos filled with a generous helping of chopped Jerk Chicken meat. At 2 for $7, they are a relative bargain. The prices are slightly higher than many Jerk Joints, but pretty competitive with the Caribbean American Bakery down the street, who (I think) bake their chicken and apparently no longer make their own meat patties. The CAB Bulla, Ginger and Carrot cakes still kick butt. Yamon and the Bakery makes a nice 1-2 punch. Oh yeah, Yamon has kept the Sick Fischer aborigine inspired décor which is featured at several locations along Howard street east of the el.

    The owners and staff of Yamon are friendly as can be (and do actually say Ya, mon quite often). They suggested I try Bulla cakes (which I got from CAB) with avocado on top. I have been eating Bulla cakes(a sort of soft round ginger bread) for years but had never heard of eating them with avocado. They were surprisingly delicious. The staff at Yamon was impressed I actually tried it. Since then they have been telling me of all sorts of Jamaican home-remedies (usually involving ginger and vinegar). I recently broke my arm and they gave me a bottle of vinegar to soak it in. I'll be damned if it didn't take down the swelling and increase the range of motion in my hand.

    Anyhow, I am digressing. I highly recommend Yamon. I would venture to say it is better than the elusive and long defunct D's Irie Kitchen (on like 101st and Vincennes). The friendly staff, the bright and busy décor, the ever present reggae, dub or dancehall music and of course the delicious and authentic food all make for a happy time.

    The other day I returned from Arizona and could smell the smoke all the way from the Howard el stop, even over the crappy and expensive new Salerno's pizza joint halfway down the block. I headed straight there like one of those cartoon characters floating on the wafting odor of a pie cooling in a window.


    Oddly, they put the wood UNDER charcoal. It gives a smokier cook and makes sure the chicken is fully cooked.

    Sorry it's been so long I forgot the rules;
    Yamon Jerk Grill
    1636 Howard St.
    Chicago IL 60626
    (773) 654-3750
    Last edited by d4v3 on May 29th, 2018, 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #2 - May 29th, 2018, 8:39 am
    Post #2 - May 29th, 2018, 8:39 am Post #2 - May 29th, 2018, 8:39 am
    Nice to see you back, d4v3!
    -Mary
  • Post #3 - July 23rd, 2018, 4:10 pm
    Post #3 - July 23rd, 2018, 4:10 pm Post #3 - July 23rd, 2018, 4:10 pm
    d4v3 wrote:I headed straight there like one of those cartoon characters floating on the wafting odor of a pie cooling in a window.

    Going to check YaMon out soon, as TheGP said, nice to see you back.
    Bugs2.jpg
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #4 - July 23rd, 2018, 9:55 pm
    Post #4 - July 23rd, 2018, 9:55 pm Post #4 - July 23rd, 2018, 9:55 pm
    Checking it out this weekend! Been looking for my north side island food fix since Taste of Trinidad on Howard closed up. I’m still devastated from that loss..
  • Post #5 - July 30th, 2018, 5:42 pm
    Post #5 - July 30th, 2018, 5:42 pm Post #5 - July 30th, 2018, 5:42 pm
    I have really become addicted to Yamon"s "jerk tacos' lately. They are a generous helping of chopped smoked chicken and sour cream wrapped in a flour tortilla with jerk sauce on the side. As I said above, they are 2 for 7 bucks. They can be shared for a moderate lunch for 2 (or not).
  • Post #6 - July 30th, 2018, 7:20 pm
    Post #6 - July 30th, 2018, 7:20 pm Post #6 - July 30th, 2018, 7:20 pm
    d4v3 wrote:I have really become addicted to Yamon"s "jerk tacos' lately. They are a generous helping of chopped smoked chicken and sour cream wrapped in a flour tortilla with jerk sauce on the side. As I said above, they are 2 for 7 bucks. They can be shared for a moderate lunch for 2 (or not).

    I'm convinced that tortillas and smoked meat are the perfect match.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #7 - July 31st, 2018, 10:17 am
    Post #7 - July 31st, 2018, 10:17 am Post #7 - July 31st, 2018, 10:17 am
    d4v3 wrote:I highly recommend Yamon. I would venture to say it is better than the elusive and long defunct D's Irie Kitchen (on like 101st and Vincennes). The friendly staff, the bright and busy décor, the ever present reggae, dub or dancehall music and of course the delicious and authentic food all make for a happy time.

    Thanks for posting about Yamon, went last week and it was exactly as outlined, friendly, delicious and the best jerk chicken I've had in quite a while. People working there are great and I love the decor, even if it makes me a bit dizzy. :)

    I should note as delicious as the jerk chicken, and a good deal at lunch, $7.50 with two sides, bread, maduro and soda, the tips were not to my liking, drowned in sauce, the only way they come, and mushy. Salt fish festival, which we split as a side, was interesting. Slightly sweet fried dough stuffed with dried salted fish. Not something I'd order again, but happy to have tried.

    YamonLTH2.jpg Yamon's fantastic Jerk Chicken, $7.50 at lunch with a soda.

    YamonLTH3.jpg Salt fish festival

    YamonLTH4.jpg Tips

    Yamon4.jpg Yamon interior.


    Yamon Jerk Chicken, Count me a Fan!
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #8 - August 1st, 2018, 12:48 pm
    Post #8 - August 1st, 2018, 12:48 pm Post #8 - August 1st, 2018, 12:48 pm
    Gary, I had the Jerk Tips and did not like them either. I should have mentioned them. Funny, my tips were too dry, not mushy and I believe the jerk sauce was served on the side. Maybe they tried to remedy the dry tips by simmering them in sauce. Oh well, that's what we get for ordering tips at a jerk chicken place. I will vouch for the ox tails and curried goat. One day the owner was eating a chunk of jerk pork which looked great, but is not on the menu.
  • Post #9 - August 1st, 2018, 2:21 pm
    Post #9 - August 1st, 2018, 2:21 pm Post #9 - August 1st, 2018, 2:21 pm
    d4v3 wrote: One day the owner was eating a chunk of jerk pork which looked great, but is not on the menu.


    I actually asked the owner if he had jerk pork, which when done well, is my preference over chicken every time. He said he had some, but my dining companions voted for the tips instead, cause we had already ordered them ("nah, let's just stick to the tips").
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #10 - August 2nd, 2018, 5:56 am
    Post #10 - August 2nd, 2018, 5:56 am Post #10 - August 2nd, 2018, 5:56 am
    Lesson For The Day: HEED THE FORUM!

    Ordered Jerk Tips because…I like the concept of Jerk Tips. Bad idea. Dry. Tough.

    However, overall impression of YAMON JERK GRILL is still very favorable and the march through the menu continues. Today, the gracious owner agreed to stretch the concept of the “two-meat” combo to include Jerk Catfish/Jerk Shrimp for a very reasonable custom price. Both excellent, along with the cabbage, plantains and the rice-and-peas.

    As the GWiv might say: Count me a fan.
  • Post #11 - August 2nd, 2018, 9:32 am
    Post #11 - August 2nd, 2018, 9:32 am Post #11 - August 2nd, 2018, 9:32 am
    Wonder if this a northern outpost of Ya Mon, 183rd and Cicero, Country Club Hills; which has fab jerk chicken
  • Post #12 - August 7th, 2018, 11:39 am
    Post #12 - August 7th, 2018, 11:39 am Post #12 - August 7th, 2018, 11:39 am
    Thanks for the tip. This place is in one word, LEGIT. At least as far as their jerk goes. Been twice now and both times there was a light cloud of smoke coming out of the kitchen. The cooks in back were smoking but not spliffs. It was chips of pimento wood as verified by the owner (I think he was) who hails from Ochos Rios. Lunch special jerk chicken was as good as a couple spots in South Florida I frequent. Heck it was as good as I remember some spots in Jamaica to be. And yes those jerk chicken tacos are fire and very much filling. Maybe the best representation in Chicago which is saying something considering how many spots here make them these days. So much so you can include them in a list of hyper regional Chicago foods ala The Big Baby and the Jim Shoe.

    ImageJerk Chicken Tacos
  • Post #13 - August 7th, 2018, 12:57 pm
    Post #13 - August 7th, 2018, 12:57 pm Post #13 - August 7th, 2018, 12:57 pm
    Does anyone happen to know their hours? I can't find them posted anywhere online. Thanks!
  • Post #14 - August 7th, 2018, 1:16 pm
    Post #14 - August 7th, 2018, 1:16 pm Post #14 - August 7th, 2018, 1:16 pm
    Stephen wrote:Does anyone happen to know their hours? I can't find them posted anywhere online. Thanks!

    Yamon2.jpg Yamon Hours as of 7.31.18
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #15 - August 7th, 2018, 11:21 pm
    Post #15 - August 7th, 2018, 11:21 pm Post #15 - August 7th, 2018, 11:21 pm
    As much as I resent Grub Hub, Yamon offers a discount for first-time Grub Hub customers. The coupons are beside the register.
  • Post #16 - August 10th, 2018, 8:22 pm
    Post #16 - August 10th, 2018, 8:22 pm Post #16 - August 10th, 2018, 8:22 pm
    As an islander, I found the Jerk chicken to be meh. I just found it to be underwhelming in flavour.

    NOW.. I am intrigued by the jerk pork cuz I haven’t had that in years! Their oxtails and everything else I had was great though. Not better than say my oxtails but what can you do?!
  • Post #17 - August 12th, 2018, 2:21 pm
    Post #17 - August 12th, 2018, 2:21 pm Post #17 - August 12th, 2018, 2:21 pm
    There's a lot of deliciousness to love about this place. Saturday lunch was most definitely worth the trip. I have virtually no baseline for this cuisine so please take my comments for what they're worth.

    Image
    Jerk Chicken Taco
    These tacos may have been my favorite overall item of the day. I loved how full of spicy, smoky flavors they were. They were a textbook example of an item being more than the sum of its parts.

    Image
    Salt-Fish Festival
    These were pretty sweet, almost donut-like on the exterior. That's not really my thing. They very well may have been as authentic as possible but for my palate, these missed the mark.

    Image
    Beef Patty
    A nice, empanada-like item. A little on the bland side, relative to some of the other items we had.

    Image
    Oxtail Dinner, small
    These tender, flavorful and meaty nuggets were excellent. The sauce was equally great and the rice & beans were exceptional in flavor and texture.

    Image
    Brown Stew dinner, small
    Foe me, maybe just a notch under the oxtails, which are a favorite of mine but still, quite flavorful and delicious.

    Image
    Curried Goat dinner, small
    Great stuff. This rounded out quite nicely the trio of stewed items we ordered.

    Image
    Jerk Chicken, 1/2
    I thought the smoke and the spice on the jerk chicken were both excellent. The smoke was strong but applied in a skilled manner that was not over the top. Nor did it carry any off notes at all. Good, clean smoke. The spice was up front and distinctive but again, not overly done. All that said, the bird itself was a bit dry. I had been tempted to order all dark meat and if that's even an option it might have been the right move. But given it was my first trip, that seemed like an overly fussy approach. Unfortunately, what we ended up with was quite a bit of very flavorful but dried out white meat.

    Image
    Honey Jerk Wings, 6
    We asked if there was anything we hadn't ordered that we shouldn't miss and were advised to order these. Again, I liked the levels of spice and smoke but as I could have predicted, the sweet component was not to my liking. That said, one of my companions really enjoyed them, and my wife thought the leftovers I brought her were "perfect."

    Walking through the kitchen (on my way to the bathroom) I saw a good, old-fashioned barrel smoker-type rig. It was humming along nicely, kicking out some clean, sweet smoke. This just made me feel even better about Yamon and its offerings. That moment confirmed for me what I had already discerned from what I'd eaten: there is a lot of loving care being put into the food here.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #18 - August 15th, 2018, 9:56 pm
    Post #18 - August 15th, 2018, 9:56 pm Post #18 - August 15th, 2018, 9:56 pm
    =R=.
    I have always ordered 1/2 dark from Yamon. No problem. I do not eat white meat ( except for occasionally wings). I have always found smoked (or fried or baked or broiled) breast to be dry and tastesless. I guess it is OK in soup, but mostly for texture not flavor. It seems Yamon is open to almost any request or suggestion.

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