Stir It Up

Christopher and Vivian Williams opened the original, homey location of Stir It Up in Little Five Points, where it earned fans for the unusual care the kitchen put into its menu of headily spiced Jamaican dishes. Their new digs down a side street in Midtown give off a sultrier vibe: burnt orange walls, tufted banquettes, plush wingback chairs. The cooking, happily, retains its heart. Brown stew chicken is a worthy introduction to Jamaican cuisine—the meat’s caramelized exterior lends a burnished richness to every bite, and there’s enough gravy to mix into a molded mound of rice and peas on the side, giving it extra dimension. Shrimp curry has softer, sweeter flavors than its Indian counterpart. The goat curry shows off more layers of complexity, with a prominent kick of black pepper that lingers on the palate. Don’t miss the black cake for dessert, a rum-laced, fruitcake-like treat that you don’t often find outside Jamaican homes.