By MeChon Hall
Being one of only two Jamaican restaurants in Little Rock, Yeh Mon hits the bullseye for authenticity. Yeh Mon is family-owned and operated. Most of the staff are originally from Jamaica and proudly speak with their native accents. Conveniently located in Bowman Curve Shopping Center, it is one of our favorite lunch spots. As with all restaurants in our community, it has recently reopened and offers the same great flair as it did in the past. Each time we return, we are greeted with the usual upbeat welcome. Our last visit was no different.
We visited midweek during lunch, and although they had their usual crowd, we managed to order our food with ease. I wanted to try the plantains, as we never had theirs. They are cooked when you order them, so we opt to eat that as our appetizer. The plantains arrived steamy and fresh! The gentleman told us to let him know when we were ready for our main dish, he’d happily bring it out. The aroma was so tantalizing that we did not wait for them to cool off. As we bit into them, we appreciated the tenderness and they taste delicious.
We were ready to devour our meals.
My husband, Knoxie, had the ox tails with cabbage and the rice and peas. I had the curry shrimp with steamed rice and a fresh mixed green salad. Both dishes were divine! We shared our meals, as we always do. Knoxie’s oxtails were so tender, I didn’t have to chew the meat, but of course I did. Yeh Mon boasts that this dish is seasoned with their family blend of herbs and spices and is then marinated for 24 hours. This rang loudly as our taste buds were pleased. My shrimp were cooked so perfect I overlooked the tails being on them, which is a personal pet peeve. The vegetables in this dish were fresh and not overcooked, which I thoroughly appreciated that. The bright colors made it pleasing to my eyes as well. We also ordered the Jamaican sodas. I had the cream soda and Knoxie had the champagne. Both were delicious and complemented our meals.
Although we did not have room for dessert on this visit, Yeh Mon offers several different options. One of our favorites is the chocolate cake. It’s moist, rich and full of flavor. I strongly suggest trying it when available. I did, however, grab a piece to go and had it later. Other options include pecan fudge brownies and rum cake.
We plan to try everything Yeh Mon has to offer, especially the curry goat, which is a staple celebratory meal in Jamaican culture. It is on list of things to try next. The menu states that it is marinated for up to 48 hours. So far, we have marked off jerk chicken, curry chicken, jerk shrimp, and brown stewed chicken. We highly recommend the brown stewed chicken as well as the jerk chicken and jerk shrimp. All the dishes are full of Jamaican flare.
We love the welcoming environment and the casual dining. Each time we visit, it is as if they were expecting us. Service like that is hard to come, so we relish in it. If you are looking for authentic Jamaican cuisine without having to take a trip to Jamaica, you should pay Yeh Mon a visit.