With its vibrant interior and modern Jamaican dishes, Dr. Bird’s Jamaican Patty Shack feels totally fresh — but it happens to be an offshoot of a 40-year-old family restaurant in Buffalo. “Our family showed us the way; we’re just continuing the legacy and putting our spin on it,” says Hakim Lee, who opened the Noble Square spot (1215 N. Milwaukee Ave.) with his brother Changa in May. You’ll find flaky patties along with jerk salmon roti, but the star is the rasta pasta, an homage to the flavors of the island created by Jamaican immigrants to New York, including their father, who has served it since 2005. The Lees take his recipe in a new direction.
The Sauce This creamy rendition is extra herbaceous, with loads of rosemary, basil, thyme, and parsley. The Lees use Gruyère instead of cheddar and add coconut milk, jerk seasoning, and roasted tomatoes to amp up the umami.
The Jerk Add jerk shrimp, chicken shawarma, skirt steak, salmon, or jackfruit, a vegan option that mimics pulled pork. Each one is marinated with spices for 24 hours, smoked on pimento wood from Jamaica, and finished on the grill.
The Toppings When combined with the bright green sauce, the red and yellow bell peppers complete the colors of the Rastafarian movement that gives the dish its name. A shower of grated Gruyère makes it extra cheesy.