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Occasionally, when a business or restaurant has resided in one place for a very lengthy
time, it’s hard to exorcise memories (good or bad) to make room when new occupants
come along. That was my fear of going to Spice Island Grill. Gone was the long-established
and dependably good El Tesoro. In its place was not only a new owner, but an entirely dissimi-
lar cuisine: Jamaican. I needn’t have worried. Besides the address, the two vastly different
restaurants share an apparent commitment to well-prepared food and attentive service.

Vibrantly colored walls and knick knacks from Jamaica greet diners, but more importantly
are the friendly faces and acknowledgement from the staff. The menu offers a 15-minute
lunch. Although we didn’t time it, I suspect ours, and others’, took a little longer. But that’s
fine, because it’s a comfortable space.

The lunch menu features a variety of sandwich, entrée and salad offerings with the requisite
Jamaican jerk seasoning. I ordered the jerk chicken sandwich served on Jamaican Cocoa
bread, which is thick and bun-like. The jerk seasoning on the grilled chicken was tangy
and spicy without being overwhelming. My dining companion ordered chicken curry with
a side of plantain. The flavors were rich and full of depth. The thinly sliced fried plantain
tasted more like squash, as it should, than banana.

In addition to chicken and pork, there’s shrimp, goat, tilapia and even tofu imbued with jerk
seasoning. Perhaps Spice Island Grill will have a life at least as long as its predecessor –
18+ years.

Spice Island Grill
Four Plates
10 N. Sierra Madre
Colorado Springs, CO


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