The Rogers Park/Edgewater area is chock-full of different cuisines—Ethiopian, Thai, Peruvian, Mexican, Korean, etc... But it was somehow missing jerk chicken. The smoky, spicy Caribbean staple is one of the great simple pleasures in life, so the prospect of a restaurant in the area serving it almost exclusively had me very excited.
The chicken used in the Jerk Chicken Sandwich at Jerky Jerk ($7.95) is a bit different than the delicious looking (and smelling) meat used in the jerk chicken meals. Instead of spiced and grilled, it's lightly breaded and fried, covered in a "sweet fire sauce." The chicken itself is impressively delicate, with just a small coating of flour to add a little flavor. It was also fairly moist, though some seasoning in the dredge could have improved it. Thick cuts of tomato added some extra juiciness to the sandwich, even though they were very much the product of winter.
The highlight, as with many a Caribbean dish, was the sauce. There were hits of citrus for sweetness, sautéed onions for savory, and just a hint of spicy. It was so good I wanted to dip my fries in it.
It's not a particularly fancy sandwich, nor does it match the classic image of the dish, but it is still a worthy addition to the diversity of the area.
About the author: Nathan Lurz is an intern at Serious Eats Chicago. When he's not reviewing the occasional sammich, he spends his time trying to convince people to pay him to be a journalist, working at the non-partisan political news site Reboot Illinois, and being amazed he is a professional sandwich reviewer. Follow his wittiness on Twitter at @LurzBlurbz