Just this one time: Pass up the oxtail stew and the curry goat for a plate of jerk chicken tacos with habanero salsa. Seems strange, but it's perfectly natural over at D's Island Grill Ja., the colorful Jamaican restaurant at Fort Lowell and Country Club.
D's started out as a food truck, where fusion tacos are just par for the course. The Morant Bay, Jamaica native Duwayne Hall went brick-and-mortar in 2013, putting traditional dishes like ackee and salt fish on the menu with his sandwiches and quesadillas.
The tacos start the same way as his jerk chicken, rubbed in a dry seasoning powder imported from Jamaica. Then Hall adds a wet rub, blended from standard jerk ingredients like allspice and Scotch bonnet pepper. After a trip to the smoker grill in the back, the chicken is seared in a combination of garlic butter and coconut oil to give it "an island taste."
All chopped up and spread over flour tortillas with melted cheese, the plumps of chicken aren't nearly as saucy as you might expect. But of course there's the tangy jerk sauce on the side, which I liberally poured over the top. Even the coleslaw, sweet and stringy with a bitter bite, was delicate and displayed care.
Insider's tip: The D&G Pineapple Soda is quite lovely and sweet.
Location: 3156 E. Fort Lowell Road
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
Payment: accepts debit and credit cards