One of my colleagues spotted a canary-yellow storefront advertising Four Flavors Ja Merican Restaurant on Williamson Road a couple of weeks ago, so I decided to drop by on my way to work today and at least get a picture of the outside. I took my exterior shots, then went and peered inside the front glass doors. It was dark inside and sparsely decorated, but I could tell it was neat and clean.
THEN I spotted something fascinating: The back door of the restaurant was slightly ajar and I could see smoke just rolling off some kind of cooker through the crack in the door. Well, I had to walk around to the back and investigate. There, I found Peter Renking grilling a mess of really delicious-smelling chicken. Peter said he is not the owner of the restaurant, but he is the cook. And yes, he is Jamaican, which is a good sign because the cuisine at Four Flavors is all Jamaican.
Four Flavors Ja Marican Restaurant serves ackee and saltfish, callaloo and saltfish, curry shrimp, excoveitched fish, jerk chicken and pork, brown stew chicken, curry goat, curry chicken and ox tail. These meals all come with rice and beans and steamed cabbage. The stew chicken, curry goat and ox tail are available in small or large. Prices range from $5.99 for the small brown stew chicken to $10.95 for the ackee and saltfish and the callaloo and saltfish.
Saltfish is salted, dried fish. It is typically soaked and boiled. Saltfish and ackee is Jamaica’s national dish (ackee is a tropical fruit). Callaloo are the leaves of the taro root. They are prepared like collard, mustard, or kale greens, for example. “Excoveitched” fish is, I assume in this case, similar to Spanish escabeche, a cold dish of poached fish covered with a spicy sauce. In Jamaica, the term is usually “escovitch.”
Four Flavors also has sides of plantains, beef patty, salad, rice with peas and steamed cabbage. They offer delivery for orders of $20 or more. If anybody gets out to Four Flavors before I get a chance to try the food, please leave a comment and let us know what you thought.
Four Flavors Ja Merican Restaurant
3326 Williamson Rd. NW, Roanoke
Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.