Last week, I stopped into One Stop Patty Shop for a beef patty, and I noticed a pile of menus for Hot Pot Under de Tree on the counter. It definitely looked like it had potential, so today I made the short trek up to W. 151st and Frederick Douglass Blvd. My instincts proved to be correct.
Hot Pot dishes up authentic, home-style Jamaican food (judging from the accent of the fellow behind the counter, he's pretty definitely Jamaican) at very reasonable prices. I'm a sucker for jerk chicken, so that's what I had to get. It may not be the hottest jerk around, but the chicken is simmered in a deep, complex concoction of spices that made for the most satisfying non-Asian dish I've had in quite a while.
(What you can't see in the photo is the small mountain of rice and peas - the Jamaican version of moro, made with red beans - under the chicken, cabbage, and plantains.)
The hot dishes vary from day to day, but they almost always have jerk chicken, plus four or five other stews (such as goat, oxtail, and fish). Each meal comes with two sides, and in three sizes - small is around $7, depending on the dish. Medium (pictured) is around $9, and large $11-12.
Their beef patties are homemade and baked on the premises - and even better than One Stop's.
I was told by one of the enthusiastic fellow-patrons that I need to come back on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday when the serve grilled jerk chicken. Sure enough, there was one of those oil-barrel-cum-grills right by the front door. And to come early, as they tend to run out. I intend to do just that.
Hot Pot Under de Tree
2839 Frederick Douglass Blvd. (@ 151st St.), New York 10039