Last week, my vegetarian friend told me about the vast selection of faux-meat entrées at Jamaicaway at the Nashville Farmers' Market. While I'm no longer a vegetarian, I still love a good meat substitute. The one I seem to come across least often in my dining is wheat gluten, also known as seitan. Prepared correctly, it has a wonderfully chewy and stringy texture not found in other fake meats.
When we arrived at Jamaicaway, the veggie entrées included a portabello dish, fake fried chicken and four gluten offerings: jerk, barbecue, ginger and curry. The woman behind the counter was nice enough to let me try each one before ordering. I would've gladly ordered each one, but having smelled Swagruha on the way into the Farmers' Market, I just had to get the curry gluten.
The spices were just right, and the ample chunks of gluten were the perfect texture. I opted for the sides (all of which are vegetarian as well) of cabbage, which was mildly spicy and not overcooked, and the sweet potatoes with pineapple, which was nutritious and naturally sweet enough to serve as a dessert. I'd enviously eyed my friend's order of fake fried chicken and fried plantains, so I chose the fried johnnycake over the cornbread, and it was the perfect vehicle to sop up any remaining sauce.
A final aspect that has put Jamaicaway at the top of my return list is their green use of real plates, silverware and glasses. I can't stand counter service restaurants that waste disposable wares on those staying in the dining area.
Meat-lovers need not fear Jamaicaway, for they have plenty of traditional Jamaican meat selections. But vegetarians will find more offerings than the typical Nashville restaurant. And since most veg-heads double as hippies, they're sure to be feelin' irie with the green utensils, reggae music and giant picture of Bob Marley.