Shadees Jamaican takeout in Riverhead is ‘What’s for Lunch’

Shadees Jamaican Takeout Restaurant in Riverhead. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

The North Fork features an abundance of restaurants touting salads made with local greens, sandwiches topped with just-picked tomatoes and dishes made with the freshest catch from Peconic Bay. Much harder to find, however, is jerk chicken, curried goat or oxtail on the menu.

The reasonably priced Shadees Jamaican Takeout Restaurant, which opened earlier this year, offers those options and more in downtown Riverhead. There you’ll find Jamaican fare prepared by owner Shane Hope, a Westhampton Beach resident who left the island nation for the U.S. in 1990. There are several tables for dining in on the second floor, although the nearby Peconic Riverfront also makes for a good spot to enjoy your fried chicken or curry shrimp.

Shadees lunch special: One piece stew chicken,one piece curry chicken, rice, plantains and mixed vegetables, served with a dumpling.

On a recent visit we chose the lunch special ($7.99), which comes with two pieces of chicken (in our case, one curry, one stewed), rice, vegetable and plantains. The portions are ample for the price, but you probably won’t have much left over. It’s an enticing mix of flavors, although one that is light on heat.

When Shane and his wife Dion opened Shadees — a portmanteau of their first names — in May, he told us his approach focused more on the herbs and less on the spices. You can always add spice to a dish, he said, but you can’t take it away. Five months later, he’s retained that approach for dishes like the savory fried, then boiled, stew chicken.

“He’s stuck to his word of giving you the flavor first,” Ms. Hope said.

Other dishes on the menu include Ackee and saltfish (a traditional Jamaican dish consisting of salt cod sautéed in boiled ackee fruit, onions, peppers, tomatoes and spices), stew peas (a combination of red kidney beans, stew beef, pig’s tail, milk, hot pepper and spices) and fish soup which is chock full of potatoes, fish, garlic, bananas and peppers.

There are also beef patties, dumplings and an array of Jamaican sodas to complete your order. You won’t leave disappointed.

Shadees Jamaican Takeout Restaurant is located at 307 E. Main St. in Riverhead. Open Sunday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11:30 to 9 p.m.