Something new and exciting is cooking in the Motor Row District of Chicago’s South Loop. Racquel Fields has opened 14 Parish, an upscale Caribbean fusion restaurant, located at 2333 S. Michigan Ave. FYI, the Caribbean Island of Jamaica is divided into 14 parishes, hence the name. When we strolled into 14 Parish on a cold February afternoon, we first noticed the beautiful lime-green colored walls that warmly welcomed us, immediately transporting us back to the Caribbean. White booths and chairs give 14 Parish a chic, modern look, while artwork by resident artist, Lessie Dixon, adds character to this spacious eatery. (Lessie Dixon’s artwork was exhibited in the White House under the Obama Administration.)
A server quickly greeted and seated us, menus and water followed shortly thereafter. Our server was very knowledgeable and proud of the menu and suggested we start with 14 Parish’s rendition of Elote – elote meaning corn cob in Spanish. The dish came with roasted corn, black beans, habanero peppers, Cotija cheese and crème fraiche and was served with house-made plantain chips. It was a delightful introduction to 14 Parish’s cuisine. The dish seamlessly combined Mexican and French flavor profiles into one cohesive, delicious dish. The crème fraiche acts as the broth for what is essentially a tepid, roasted corn soup. The plantain chips were thinly sliced, crispy and sprinkled with a dash of sea salt. When eaten with the elote, the end result is the perfect bite.
Up next were the Caribbean Wings, which can be served with either a jerk, habanero mango or Caribbean BBQ sauce. The wings were jerked to perfection! They were juicy, meaty and had a char on the outside, that telltale sign that there was an open flame involved in the cooking process. Miss Coretta feels that 14 Parish will eventually bottle each sauce and offer them for sale. This wing and sauce combination is toe-tapping good.
We also sampled 14 Parish’s Coconut Curry Shrimp, which is served with jasmine rice. A mound of jasmine rice is centered on a plate, surrounded by julienned peppers and shrimp, nestled in a spicy coconut sauce. This dish is an ideal fusion of Caribbean and Thailand flavors. Its eye-popping curb appeal almost makes it a crime to eat. The velvety coconut curry sauce paired extremely well with the freshness and sweetness of the peppers.
The wise culinary choice to not have the curry powder overpower the coconut milk created a masterfully balanced sauce. The sticky, floral jasmine rice was a joy to eat, and the shrimp were expertly prepared and plentiful. Our only critique of this dish is that we wanted more of that yummy coconut curry sauce. While the rice-to-sauce ratio may have been slightly off, this is a must-try dish.
If you are a fan of Red Snapper, do yourself a favor and order 14 Parish’s Red Snapper Escovitch. A whole Red Snapper is pan seared, served with sides of red beans and rice and cabbage. Let us start by saying that this entrée is generous enough to feed a party of two. The Red Snapper is fresh (watch for the bones) and seared expertly. The pepper sauce was a truly spiritual experience. The preparation of this Escovitch fish was executed flawlessly. The only thing missing was the beach and a bottle of Red Stripe. The red beans and rice is topped with the pepper sauce, and the cabbage is silky and scrumptious. This dish is good old-fashioned Caribbean comfort food at its finest.
Other dishes we suggest are the Reggae Burger, the Coconut Conch Chowder and the Sweet and Spicy Short Ribs. 14 Parish also offers vegetarian/vegan options, great desserts and is BYOB. For a trip to the Caribbean – by way of Chicago – put 14 Parish on your “gotta’ try it” list. The food is absolutely phenomenal, and the service is impeccable. Owner Racquel Fields and her staff have made 14 Parish a destination spot for dining out. Yeah Mon!
We rank restaurants based on number of kisses (one thru five, with five being the best). 14 Parish receives 5 kisses. Check out the video of our review at https://youtu.be/94X-OZ-Co9k
The Black Foodies are food bloggers/vloggers and husband and wife of 25 years. We are also home cooks who believe in group economics and LOVE great food. We write the food blog “Let’s Eat,” where we review Black-owned and other ethnic restaurants. FOLLOW us on Instagram and Twitter @theblackfoodies, SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel “The Black Foodies,” where we review restaurants, share recipes, and give cooking tips. https://youtu.be/f1fsSQ24wgQ. Also LIKE us on Facebook and join our Facebook group, “World Wide Black Foodies.”
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