Following the Sign to a Jerk Chicken Platter at Mango Bush

Sometimes my eating habits remind me of that Ace of Base song “The Sign”. (You remember, “I saw the sign, and it opened up my eyes, I saw the sign”) My lunches are frequently based on street signs that catch my eye and tempt me. I must have been channeling that Swedish group while passing Mango Bush, a little Caribbean eating hole.  This particular signage offered take out platters for $8. It didn’t at all specify what comes on the platter, but I was in the mood to be surprised.  Lucky for me, the sign opened up my eyes to some jerk chicken.

There is not much going on inside Mango Bush.  When you walk in, several bare tables line the restaurant. Do not be dissuaded, keep walking up to the counter. Pretty floral arrangements won’t make the food taste better anyway.

Once I got to the counter, I inquired about my choices. Out of curry chicken, jerk chicken, brown stew chicken, oxtail, I went with the classic jerk chicken. A stewed pea special was available as a solo dish that day, but I was set on the platter. The advertised $8 take out platters come with rice and beans, cabbage, and plantains. That sounded great to me.

The plantains were soft and tasted good but there were only 2 of them! Not nearly enough. I have proven myself to be a lover of cabbage, so I was pleased having a few scoopfuls as a side. The large portion of mildly seasoned rice and beans accompanied my jerk chicken well.

I received several pieces of moist, flavorful chicken. The skin had the appropriate jerk seasoning, but it wasn’t spicy enough to be truly authentic. It also didn’t have that unique jerk skin bark that separates the best jerk chicken from the rest. Having scanned the authentic radar over the chicken, I was then able to focus on the fact that it really was well made chicken and I enjoyed biting all the meat off the bones.

The platter combo also came with a drink. I didn’t quite get a choice and agreed to what I was handed,  ”Deja Tea”. I have never in my life heard of this iced tea, and I know a thing or twelve about iced tea. It was better than Brisk, at least. Had I spoken up, maybe I could have gotten a Ting.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • The $8 take out platters come with great sampling of Caribbean food
  • I love no frills, home cooking

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • The quest for perfect jerk chicken is not solved here
  • You are not offered much of a variety
  • The interior is as sparse as it comes

Mango Bush, 524 S 4th St (@ South St), 215 625-2410


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