A map of the Caribbean overlooks the dining room at Carican Flavors, but if you really want to get a sense of the islands, close your eyes and inhale. The aromas wafting out of the kitchen at Carican will transport you.
Don’t call it Jamaican food; the owner is from Trinidad.
Located south of the “adventure district” on MLK, Carican is an attraction in itself. The food on offer walks a fine line between American soul food and authentic island fare, with such southern staples as red beans and rice sitting alongside goat curry and jerk chicken. The cornbread is unlike any I have ever tasted; bread isn’t a big part of the meal in the Caribbean, but because this is Oklahoma, patrons requested it. Carican has obliged with a sort of sweet, crumbly dessert cake version.
I had the Oxtails, which were perfectly tender and flavorful, especially when topped with the house hot sauce made with home grown scotch bonnet peppers. It’s clear from the consistency and quality that these are recipes that have been tested and perfected over time. Everything on my plate was completely unique, but nothing tasted out of place. That is one of the marks of a true chef.
Worth special note: the homemade ginger beer, made with fresh ginger root- a welcome change from the same seven choices on every soda fountain in the metro. Next time we go, and we definitely will be back, I’m going to try the fish. I usually don’t trust local places with anything that doesn’t fly or walk, (with the exception of catfish) but something tells me that if I’m going to get fish anywhere, this is the place.