D&L Barbecue and Caribbean Grill
By Amber James
It's summertime, and you've decided that vacations are not something you are willing to give up, regardless of the economic climate.
After all, you feel you deserve it.
After careful consideration, you decide to head to the beach. This is your vacation: an entire day spent under nearly cloudless blue skies, sun-bathing, swimming, listening to reggaeton music (or the Beach Boys), and sipping on sorrel and rum-punch on your beach towel. Around noon, you want to replace the smell of suncreen and french fries and the taste of sea water on your lips with a delicious Caribbean meal. Not much later, your friend and you are eating curried chicken, sweet plantains, and red beans and rice under the sun. Where are you? No, not Jamaica or Aruba. Guess again, not Miami. Try Ocean Grove, Bradley Beach, Asbury Park, Avon– which all happen to be less than an hour from your home and cheaper than flying to Kokomo. But where did that aromatic, colorful, and sensational dish of piquant and tropical tastes come from?
D&L, billing itself as the “Best Barbecue on the Jersey Shore,” has been catering to New Jersey and New York residents alike since 2007, and its new location in Bradley Beach has only brought about more interest and good reviews from visiting beach-goers and shore locals.
Tom D. of Neptune says “As any Jersey Shore local knows, there used to be only one name in the area when it came to great tasting BBQ ribs – the Southern House in Pt. Pleasant. So it was with great sadness when it burnt to the ground several years ago. Ever since, I’ve been looking for a replacement. Sure, there’s Famous Dave’s BBQ in Brick, which is good, but it’s a chain, and chain food can only go so far, so the search continued. Well, I can honestly say that the BBQ void has been filled. Enter D&L BBQ,, where you can find ribs that are just as good if not better than the Southern House (yeah, I said it.)."
Devon McLean, the charming Jamaican owner and chef, has been surrounded by Latin-Caribbean cuisine his entire life. Taking after his parents, Devon began his career in cooking. After ten years in Miami, McLean spent the next 15 in Jersey, eventually opening D&L with his partner Lisa Provost. What began as a love affair with food in the backyard of his northern Jersey home became a successful restaraunt business on the central Jersey Shore.
While driving down Main Street, I caught D&L's bright orange awning hiding behind a line of trees. My mother saw the "Barbecue," and I saw the "Caribbean" written in great white letters across, and as admirers of anything island or southern-influenced, we tried our luck. What looked good on the menu? Well, everything! Curry chicken, gumbo, sweet potato fries, grilled red snapper, crab cakes, and guinness-steamed pork ribs, but I went with the jerk chicken wings (by request, extra spicy) and a side order of sweet plantains, while my mother ordered the barbecue chicken dinner. Just the smell made my mouth water and my head swell with images of sitting in a cabana in the West Indies. The meal was to-go, which was especially accomodating for my mother (who wanted to eat dinner while watching House Hunters International on television). However, if you're looking for a relaxing, cool environment to dine other than the beach or your house, then D&L has that too.
Our second time around to D&L, we ordered as a Haitian couple from New York was leaving. The two women had thoroughly enjoyed his signature barbeque beef ribs and jerk wings, and one stated that “as West Indians, we are quite critical of Caribbean food, but that man can cook! And compared to restaraunts in the north and New York, it is reasonably priced.”
Besides D&L's call & deliver service to the beach, there is a catering service andnightly entertainment from a local music group “Three Sheets to the Wind,” and the restauruant couple is also making plans to start all-around food deliveries as well as open a nightclub in Belmar within the next year.
If my recommendation has not stirred you enough to leave the house, call 732-776-7488 or venture to the D & L's website to browse the menu, which also has a kid's selection: http://www.dlbbq.com/