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Rhythm & Spice offers pricey Caribbean food

Rhythm and Spice

315 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge.

497-0977 (incl. take-out).

Entrees: $10-15.

By Kamal Swamidoss
Staff Reporter

Iconsider myself somewhat of a gourmet. I enjoy classic tastes like Hershey's chocolate and Coca-Cola. When I saw Rhythm and Spice, the new Caribbean restaurant on Massachusetts Avenue, I thought that food would be too exotic for my palate. I became increasingly intrigued by the adventure it presented, however, and I decided to try it. To my delight, Rhythm and Spice offered not only excellent food, but also a pleasant atmosphere and top-notch service.

The decor is the first striking feature about the restaurant. The walls are a cheerful bright yellow, adorned with colorful tapestry-curtains. Skylights in the ceiling let in lots of sunlight. The combination of the ceiling fans, the bright sunlight, and the decorations was reminiscent of a restaurant by the beach.

I were soon seated and looking at the menu. The first thing I noticed was the price; everything looked expensive. This didn't seem to be a restaurant for students. Most of the patrons were older and rather well-dressed. I looked back at the menu and decided that ten dollars was the price of the adventure. Appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, curries, and side orders are available. There aren't many vegetarian dishes. Apparently jerked chicken is big in Jamaica, so it seemed appropriate to try.

The rhythm part of Rhythm and Spice came from speakers on the wall as the food was being prepared. It was mellow reggae, just right for the beach-side atmosphere in the restaurant. Unfortunately, it became increasingly difficult to hear the music as the place filled up. By seven o'clock, it was barely audible above the crowd noise, but by then the food had arrived.

Jerked chicken is a half chicken cooked with lots of spices. I thought that with a name like "jerked chicken," it would be like beef jerky, but it wasn't at all like that; it was more like barbecue. Because the bones are still in the chicken, it was a little difficult to eat with knife and fork, but I still found it delicious. There was so much flavor in the chicken. At first I thought it was only a little spicy, but gradually I grew to more fully appreciate the seasonings. After half an hour, I had finished the chicken along with the accompanying rice and cabbage, and I was satisfied. In addition, I sampled some goat curry. It's a unique taste; my first impression was of beef, but the texture and seasoning soon show that this meat definitely has a flavor of its own. The curry does well to accentuate this.

The service was excellent throughout the meal. My water glass was never empty, and when I wanted to ask for something, the waiter came after only a look in his direction. After finishing eating, I relaxed at the table for a long time and no one came to shoo me away. When I needed change for the bill, the waiter was quick to help. Everyone was very polite and friendly, making the meal that much more pleasant.

The manager said good-bye on the way out and said that he was welcome to comments and suggestions. I should have said that he would be missing out on a big student crowd because the menu is so expensive. It's surprising that everything costs as much as it does, considering the restaurant is so close to campus. However, I guess authentic Caribbean food costs a lot to make in Cambridge. The atmosphere, the service, and especially the excellent food make Rhythm and Spice a good dining choice for the occasional night out.