The Setting: A brand new strip mall on stretch of 78 that is so far east of the city that it’s referred to as Athens Highway.
The Staff: Very friendly
The Food: On a day that we spent over 4 hours walking/hiking nonstop, we were ready for a hearty meal. Ionie’s fit the bill perfectly.
A glass counter was filled with a number of prepared offerings. Brown stew chicken, curried goat, curried shrimp and oxtail stew caught our eye. But, we were undecided. We were immediately offered a taste of everything. What a treat that was! Each offering was uniquely spiced, piping hot and slow cooked to a fall-off-the-bone tender level of doneness.
Oxtail Stew — Shining above the rest with an incredible blend of spices, we couldn’t resist its draw. The richness added to a stew from being cooked on the bone with its added tendons and bits of rendered fat added a complexity to the entire stew that other cuts of meat just couldn’t touch.
Jerk Pork — Unlike the heavy handed spicings that many versions of jerk demonstrate with a ton fresh spices, dried spices, sweet elements, and smoke. Ionie’s jerked pork had a relatively simple rub of dry spices on the outside of the roast pork. Then, sliced thin, the pork was drizzled with a thin sauce. The flavors were clear and independent. Soy sauce, red pepper, black pepper and brown sugar create the base of this simple sauce. Used with restraint, these flavors complimented the pork without dominating it.
The flavor of soy sauce was a bit more prominent than some might expect to find in a jerk sauce. But, I enjoy sampling all of the different interpretations that exist for this sauce. The differences that exist from family to family are one of the compelling components that keep us returning to sample new takes on a familiar food. The only real negative is a lack of grilled/smoke flavor.
Deep Fried Dumplings — These barely-sweet balls of fried dough are quite dense. But, they’re perfect for sopping up all of that rich sauce. And, they’re perfect for pushing the limit on carb overload that’s bound to occur.
Pro — A wide assortment of Caribbean soda pops and other beverages.
Con — It’s a long drive from inside the perimeter.
Ionie’s Caribbean Kitchen
1142 Athens Highway
Grayson, GA 30017
Monday-Friday — 11:00am – 9:00pm
Saturday — 10:00am – 9:30pm