In the culinary landscape of Miami’s trendy Wynwood neighborhood, new restaurant Dukunoo Jamaican Kitchen is a welcome addition for Caribbean foodies. The new eatery celebrates classic Jamaican dishes with an elevated, modern twist. Co-owner Leonie McKoy became inspired by the iconic flavors of her childhood when imagining the new restaurant. “We wanted to stick to simple recipes from way back, but bring it up a level in looks and presentation,” she explains. The chic new space trumpets its island pride, with reggae music playing in the background. The dining room has a simple, rustic ambiance, with a lively bar and a partially open kitchen.
For lunch, my server Rico “Suave” suggested some of the restaurant’s signature options. He started me off with their savory saltfish fritters, or “flittaz” as they’re fondly called, served on a bed of grilled corn and topped with curled scallion. Shaped into neat spheres, these tender morsels offered a crunchy exterior and pillowy soft interior flecked with aromatic seasonings and hints of fish. Both their aioli sauce and peppery hot sauce paired perfectly with the appetizers.
My cocktail “Lively Up Yourself” was a mixture of Appleton Estate Reserve rum, pineapple, guava and lime, topped with mint. I loved the creative touch of using frozen fruit instead of ice, which kept my drink cool without diluting it. This cocktail reminded me of a classic Jamaican rum punch, but with a little more swagger.
For my entrée, I dived into their oxtail, presented with a pile of steaming rice and peas. The ultimate comfort food, the oxtail stew was filled with spinners (dumplings), butter beans and rich gravy, and of course the meat was fall-off-the-bone tender. The dish proved tame enough for novices trying Jamaican cuisine for the first time, but as an island man, I made good use of the pepper sauce. The rice and peas side was also flavorful and aromatic, with thyme, coconut milk and scallions.
The meal ended with smooth, rich chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream. The pairing proved extra luxurious, especially topped with chocolate syrup and coconut shavings. Served quite innocently on the side of the dessert plate were three slices of caramelized lime. Out of curiosity, I tried one and was blown away by these energizing little bites, the highlight of ahearty lunch.
Dukunoo’s staff was friendly and attentive, and the owner was a delight. For a quick trip to Jamaica (without the plane ride) visit at 310 NW 24th Street in Wynwood, Miami.