June 14, 2013 Updated: June 14, 2013 at 9:50 am
I can't tell you how many times I passed right by Three Delights Caribbean Grill without a second thought. Tucked away behind a Walgreens at Flintridge Place and Academy Boulevard, it was easy to miss.
Until the wind shifted.
Then the scents of smoking, grilling and roasting meats beckoned me with a call that could not be resisted. My only regret is that I waited so long to stop in.
Three Delights Caribbean Grill is a small restaurant run by Amos Ferguson, a native of the Bahamas. He turns out enormous plates of the delicious Caribbean food he loves. The titular three delights are jerk, curry and barbeque, and you won't be disappointed with any of them. In addition to the traditional dishes like jerk chicken and slow-cooked brisket, there are several unique and delicious seafood dishes. It's often a one-man show, but the quality of food makes it worth the occasional wait.
You'll get the quickest service at lunch time, when the menu is smaller but just as tasty. The simple smoked turkey sandwich ($6.99) brings a heap of moist, pulled turkey on a chewy, toasted bun. You can dress it with the house mild sauce (smoky, thick and just sweet enough) or the house hot sauce (thinner, tangier and spicy enough to raise your eyebrows).
The brisket sandwich ($9.87) starts with that same toasted bun, but its filled with thick slices of char-crusted brisket. The meat marries beefy flavor with an intense kiss of smoke from the grill out back. The smoke permeates every slice, enhancing without overwhelming.
The grouper sandwich ($12.99) completely exceeded my expectations. Anybody who reads this my reviews regularly knows I raved about Bonefish Grill, and the grouper at Three Delights was just as good as anything I had at Bonefish. Exceptionally fresh fish is lightly seasoned and breaded before it's fried, resulting in sweet, juicy grouper so good you'll swear you can hear the ocean.
One reason lunch is so fast at Three Delights is because the sides are limited to french fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings or fried okra, and happily, they're all prepared on the premises, not frozen. You can get the dinner sides for an extra charge of $1.49, and if you want something that's not fried, it's worth the cost.
The dinner menu offers larger portions of some of the lunch dishes, more seafood options and a wide variety of sides. The pulled pork ($10.57) is an enormous pile of meat, with both the moist inner cuts and the prized chewy, crusty bits from the outside of the roast. One huge difference between Three Delights and some of the chain barbecue places here is that the ribs, brisket and pulled pork are all seasoned differently, so you aren't bombarded with the same flavor over and over again.
That half rack of ribs ($14.29) is cooked just to perfection and not past it. The dry-rubbed meat pulls easily from the bone, not falling off in a sloppy mess. The mahogany crust keeps the ribs tender and juicy, and you can add the house sauce to make them as saucy and messy as you like them.
On the weekends, you can get curried chicken or goat ($14.59). My husband tasted curried goat once and has been talking about it for 20 years, so I was happy to finally be able to say, "Here, you can get it in town." The curry sauce is so rich and complex and delicious, you'll be tempted to lick it off the plate. The flavor leans less toward curry powder and more toward allspice, thyme and bay leaf.
Having never tried goat before, I was curious. Goat is a very lean meat, but the long stewing in the curry sauce renders it tender. The flavor is often compared to lamb, but I found it to be more similar to a chewier, slightly gamier cross between beef and pork.
You can't talk about Caribbean food without mentioning the jerk chicken. For dinner, you can get a breast ($11.99) or leg quarter ($10.49). While both tasted great, with dominant notes of allspice and thyme, the breast was dry. Still, the leg quarter was juicy and tender. The heat is here, but it's a slow burn, noticeable first in the back of the mouth and building with every bite.
Another first I tried here was the barracuda steak ($11.99). If you don't like strongly flavored fish, stick with the grouper. This fish requires some attention, since the fried cross sections of barracuda contain the spine of the fish and a few smaller bones clustered together, like fin bones. While I found the flavor intense and enjoyable, it's not for everyone.
All the lunches come with one side and a drink. Dinner comes with two sides and a drink. If you have a vegetarian to feed, consider getting a plate with 2-3 side dishes ($2.50 each).
Next time you're in that area of town, follow your nose to Three Delights. You'll be glad you did.
three delights caribbean grill
Restaurant Character: Small and plain in appearance, Three Delights Caribbean Grill is big on flavor and friendliness. The owner is a native of the Bahamas, and offers jerk, curry and barbecue plus some select seafood dishes you won't find anywhere else.
Rating total: 3.25 out of 5 stars
Food: 4 out of 5 stars
Ambiance: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Service: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Address: 4747 Flintridge Dr.
Contact: 599-5375; threedelights.com
Hours: Noon-6 p.m. Sundays; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
Credit cards: Yes
Vegetarian options: Few
What's online as of June 5:
- 97 percent of 74 voters "liked it" on Urban Spoon
- 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 5 reviews on Yelp
- Not on Facebook
- Two violations were corrected during visit in an April, 2013, inspection by the El Paso County Health Department