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Rasheedah’s Café

A deeper shade of soul

On its breakfast and lunch menus, Rasheedah’s Café sticks close to diner standards: bacon and eggs, burgers, cheese steaks, wings. Come dinnertime, though, the menu ventures below the Mason-Dixon for a taste of classic soul food; on Sundays, things head further south when the comfortable booth-and-counter spot dishes up Jamaican-style jerk chicken, duck, and lamb. In this almost-missable College Hill storefront, owner Rasheedah A. Majid and her two sons prepare Southern and Caribbean comfort food with Halal meats: the bacon is turkey, the ribs (a special on Friday and Saturday) are beef, and no alcohol is available. On a recent Sunday, our welcoming server declared the jerk lamb her favorite, and it lived up to its billing. Leg of lamb starts on the grill before spending quality time in the oven; roasted to tenderness, it’s sliced and tossed with a blend of hot pepper, garlic, and spices. Though chicken, pork, and goat are more commonly associated with jerk cooking, the lamb proved a tasty alternative, its marbled richness wrapped in mouth-buzzing heat. A portion of fried chicken arrived blazing hot, salty, and crisp (though a tad dry). The cornmeal-crusted salmon croquette, another Southern staple, was crunchy and boldly flavored. Rasheedah’s is happy to feed you generously. For no more than $11 you’ll get a hearty main course of chicken (baked or fried) or fish (grilled or fried), salmon croquette, or a daily special, two vegetarian sides (vinegary collard greens, creamy mac-and-cheese, candied yams awash in maple-cinnamon syrup), plus a square of slightly sweet Cream of Wheat bread that gives standard yellow cornbread a run for its money. By the rules that govern both traditional Southern cooking and Islamic living, this food is good for soul and spirit.

Rasheedah’s Café, 5922 Hamilton Ave., College Hill, (513) 351-1129