If someone asked you to name Palm Beach County's highest-rated Yelp restaurant, what would you guess? Would it be a fancy Island establishment or a Clematis Street hot spot? Or a longstanding waterside eatery serving quintessential South Florida seafood?
Nope, guess again. Instead, it's Kersmon Caribbean Restaurant, a small, bistro-like eatery tucked into an average-looking strip mall located at the intersection where Melaleuca Lane meets Jog Road in Greenacres.
For the past decade, South Floridians in the know have been traveling here for a taste of chef-owner Althea Drummond's ackee and
Drummond is one of
With a big voice and bigger smile, Drummond is a welcoming host to her loyal patronage. The Negril native has been cooking since she was 23 years old, learning the necessary skills from her mother. In 2002, she moved to the United States and in 2007 opened
The one thing you'll need before you dine at
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Start with Kersmon's brown-stew chicken — often considered the gateway meal to Jamaica's scotch-bonnet-pepper-heavy dishes. It's a safe bet for those who shy from curry and too much spice. If you can handle the heat, however, it would be a shame to miss Drummond's
Often regarded as a celebratory dish, here the oxtail itself is reason enough for rejoicing. At
You could end, rather than begin, with a typical Jamaican breakfast that's truly good any time of day. That would be Drummond's ackee and saltfish. Here, the dish is neither too fishy nor too salty — as many versions can be — and the perfect balance of egg-like ackee fruit to white-fleshed fish. It's speckled with flecks of pepper and accented with tenders bits of bell pepper, onion, and tomato.
But it's the jerk — a velvety, rich, brown sauce that looks more like gravy than the traditional rub-like seasoning — that draws the crowds back time and time again. You can order it with the traditional pork or the more popular chicken. But one thing is for sure: You won't find jerk quite like Drummond's, each bite offering a hint of spice that's bold enough to flush your cheeks but quickly mellows in time for you to take another bite.
Drummond tells me you can even find a glowing description of this very dish in James Patterson's book Justice; when he's in the area, the author is one of Kersmon's best customers.
"Jamaican food is bold, full-flavored, and aromatic,” says Drummond. "We have one of the best styles of cooking. The flavors are so unique. That's what makes it so special."
Kersmon Caribbean Cuisine is located at 4622 Jog Road, Greenacres. Call 561-968-5656.