Location: 2570 Birchmount Road, Scarborough
I just talked about Brunei, a tiny country with a population of 400,000 that looks positively huge compared to Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic), an island nation in the Caribbean with a population of 71,000. It measures at 750 km2, which is about a tenth of the size of the GTA.
As for Chris Jerk as a representative of Dominica, I’m cheating on several levels. It obviously doesn’t serve Dominican food, because how could it? The country is way too small to inspire restaurants outside of its borders.
Chris Jerk serves Caribbean/Jamaican food… kinda. Their claim to fame is jerk chicken shawarma, which you can order in a wrap, on a plate, or in a poutine. No, it’s not particularly authentic.
I tried the wrap, which is served in a tortilla. So it’s part Jamaican, part Middle Eastern, part Mexican, and all delicious.
Seriously: it’s so damn good. The restaurant was absolutely packed when I visited close to noon on a weekday, and it’s very, very easy to see why.
The wrap comes stuffed with the usual assortment of veggies, along with BBQ mayo, garlic mayo, and hot sauce. Fried plantain is an optional upgrade for an additional fifty cents.
The shawarma itself is absolutely outstanding. The chicken is perfectly cooked and tender, and the crispy bits? Out of control. The amount of texture and flavour you get from the dark brown bits is ridiculous.
It’s basically just really great shawarma — but then it’s got those jerk spices, which makes it delightfully unique.
The sauces and the veggies compliment it perfectly, and the ratio of meat to other stuff is perfect. It’s a seriously meaty wrap, but with enough toppings to balance it out. Plus, the plaintain adds a nice creamy sweetness that contrasts nicely with the crispy, savoury meat.
I know a lot of people are sticklers for authenticity; Chris Jerk is Exhibit A on why they’re wrong. Deliciousness is all that matters, and the jerk chicken shawarma has that in spades.