Jamaican flavors conjure tropical sunshine at this Atlanta restaurant

Dish of the Week: Jerk chicken bowl at Wylie & Rum

For me, jerk marinade brings to mind the hospitality and intense flavors of Jamaica. Wylie & Rum’s jerk chicken bowl took me to a happy place.

“Jerking” refers to a marinade and often tongue-scorching spice rub, along with smoking or grilling of meat. Neither mild nor subtle, Wylie & Rum’s aromatic marinade permeates the juicy and tender meat. You can increase the spice level with Scotch bonnet hot sauce.

The not-too-big, not-too-small breast portion in the bowl nestles with seasoned yellow rice and black beans, and is topped with pico de gallo and sour cream. Roasted plantains balance the heat with natural sweetness.

A bite took me back — not directly to Jamaica, but to the 1990s, when Bridgetown Grill served this dish in the space now housed by the Porter; same wonderful chicken, same chef, Jose Lopez.