Take Your Tastebuds on a Tropical Vacation with Flavors of the Isle

Ebony Williams’s catering business turned Findlay Market restaurant specializes in jerk seasoning.
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Ebony Williams’s decade-old catering business got a brick-and-mortar boost this spring when she opened Flavors of the Isle across from Findlay Market. This restaurant—which specializes in dishes Williams learned to cook as a youngster while spending time in the kitchen with her Jamaican stepfather—is all about the jerk seasoning, a fragrant blend of spices that range from cumin and paprika to red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper.

Photograph by Andrew Doench

Meaty rib tips and chicken wings and drums are generously rubbed in the restaurant’s own version of the seasoning, then smoked with pimento wood and served with homemade mild BBQ sauce. The smoky flavoring is a delightful discovery for those who’ve never dabbled in this quintessential Jamaican entrée. That flavor even extends to the jerk chicken salad, which is balanced out by grapes, celery, and creamy mayonnaise dressing. If you want something a little lighter, the Bob Marley salad is kale and quinoa mixed with bell pepper, onion, carrot, and purple cabbage, all tossed in house-made red wine and thyme vinaigrette. Don’t forget about the curry stews. Available in chicken or goat, the meat is braised and then cooked with onion, garlic, and carrot in Jamaican yellow curry and spices. (And if you’re lucky, you can dig into some of Williams’s jerk turkey this holiday season.)

Photograph by Andrew Doench

Wash whatever you get down with a Red Stripe, a ginger beer, or a frozen rum punch (pineapple, coconut, mango, and Jamaican white rum), and let your mind take you somewhere tropical during the dreary winter months

Flavors of the Isle, 1807 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 421-4753

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