Fans of 11 Hauz used to have to wait for every Sunday to roll around so they could taste authentic Jamaican food at the Park Silly Market. Not anymore. The new restaurant opened last month in Kimball Junction after operating a food stand (that always sold out) at the Sunday market for the last four years.
This family run business is now bringing their family recipes to the masses. Run by husband and wife Errol and Sheron Grant (the head chef) and daughters Nyesha, Tanisha and Anita Hamil, most recipes on their menu come from the Hamil sisters’ great grandmother. (That’s where the restaurant also derives its name: their great grandmother was a chef who walked 11 miles to and from work every day).
Here is what we are currently loving (and what has us dreaming about sipping a beer in the sand).
Made fresh every day by aunt Gloria Edwards, these juices are authentic and refreshing. Sweetened with molasses instead of sugar, they are sweet but somehow not cloyingly so. The limeade has a delicious tang, but we love the sorrel- derived from the hibiscus plant and flavored with cloves, cinnamon and ginger.
Sheron Grant is keeping it secret just what she does to make this kale so darn good, but trust us, your kids and husband will probably eat it, too. Flavored with thyme, the stems are softened just enough to make you actually want to eat them while the leaves maintain just a bit of texture without becoming too soft. How does she do that?! There’s some spice and some tang that are a bit reminiscent of southern collard greens, but with an island flair.
Every day, 11 Hauz offers a different special, and each one is something that mainland Americans probably haven’t tried, like oxtail. “We didn’t want to introduce everything from this culture all at once,” Nyesha Hamil said. Instead, you can get a slower introduction every day. This island curry might be our favorite. It comes loaded with shrimp, lobster and conch. We’re pretty confident these guys are the only ones in Park City (dare we say Utah?) serving up conch. It’s flown in fresh from the Bahamas (shrimp and lobster are from the Gulf).
As we mentioned, the seafood is just so fresh. This grilled salmon is not to be missed. Grant prepares it with a spicy tamarind sauce (the spice is subtle and builds as you eat) and serves it alongside traditional rice and peas (what Jamaicans call red beans and rice) and plantains. The subtle spice comes from Scotch Bonnet peppers, while the other flavors are derived from Asian, Indian, Spanish and African influences, much like Jamaican food in general. (The use of soy, ginger and scallions comes from the Chinese; the beans, rice and mangoes are African; ketchup and tomato paste are from the Spanish; and curry and other spices from Indians.)
Mac and cheese
Every culture has to do some form of mac and cheese, right? This one is made with Jamaican sharp cheddar, with American cheddar added in. But what makes this stand out are the “special spices” that Grant adds in. “You won’t find a mac and cheese like this anywhere else,” Nyesha Hamil said. This was something her great grandmother made at Christmas every year.
11 Hauz is open at 11:30 p.m. for lunch and dinner every day but Sunday. Leave a comment below, and tell us what you think, mon.