Ever since DRS and Associates moved to North Hollywood, I’ve driven by Coley’s multiple times per day. Every time I saw the sign advertising its Caribbean food, I thought “I need to try that.” I put it off for months until one Friday, I decided it was the day. I was going to Coley’s.
Coley’s is a standalone restaurant with a large parking lot. The exterior is decked in tropical greens, yellows and blacks, and the interior is deceptively large, featuring a back room with tables and a dance floor. Jamaican photos and Bob Marley advertisements cover the walls. I felt like I was in the islands.
Right off the bat, I ordered a Beef Patty. During the time I lived in New York, beef patties became one of my favorites. Most lunch trucks, bodegas and hole in the wall restaurants served them because they’re easy to make. Much like an Indian samosa, a beef patty is supposed to be a street food that can be eaten on the go. A good patty will hold itself together nicely after a bite and have minimal grease. Bad beef patties are often fried for too long and become too greasy to hold. You can see pools of grease forming inside, and when you take a bite, you get grease and juice running down your face. Other times, they’re frozen and quickly flash fried, leaving a rubbery consistency and uneven temperature. The beef patties at Coley’s are perfect. The pastry outside is flaky and warm, and the meat inside is succulent, not greasy.
I couldn’t decide between Jerk Chicken and Curried Goat for lunch, but luckily there was an option for two types of meat. I received two pieces of jerk chicken and a small bowl containing several pieces of goat meat in a delicious-smelling curry sauce. Dishes all come with steamed veggies, rice and beans, fried plantains and festival bread, which is essentially a fried cornbread doughnut hole. I was blown away by how good this was. The chicken was juicy and the jerk sauce was the perfect mix of sweet and spice. The goat pieces were decently-sized and deboned, and the curry sauce packed quite a kick. Next time I may ask if they can tone down the spice, as it crept up on me as I ate.
While I ate, I watched the other patrons’ food go by, and I can’t wait to try the Fried Chicken, which looked amazing. I found the waitstaff incredibly pleasant and attentive. Before I ordered, she asked me if I was familiar with Caribbean food and was quick with suggestions. The lunch items are very reasonably priced. For $6.99, the price of a McDonald’s or Subway meal, you can get one of Coley’s sizable lunch specials. There was a lot of friendly interaction between the diners and the staff, and quite a few regulars were present.
When the heat is right in the middle of the day and you want to take a quick trip to the islands, visit Coley’s. You’ll leave satisfied and smiling like I did.