Laid-Back Dining At Caribbean Soul

Ocean County food truck brings its following indoors.

The Soul Bowl is a humdinger, we’re thinking as we take turns spearing whole shrimp, slabs of steak and nuggets of chicken brushed with a tangy sauce and set with strips of red bell pepper over yellow rice. We do this casually, letting the sauce drip down our chins and not minding the fact that we’re chalking up dirty napkins at a wicked pace.

Soul bowl

We don’t have to worry—the nice folks behind this bowl of comfort have made it clear they run a relaxed, come-as-you-are spot.

Caribbean Soul is its name and if you know it as a food truck in the Ocean County environs, you might be familiar with the signature dishes on the menu at its new brick-and-mortar home on Chambersbridge Road in Brick. Both are owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Rondell Donaldson and Renee Campbell. The pocket-sized venue employs counter seating and a plies a healthy take-out trade.

In fact, everything is prepared to-go, so if you care to set a spell and eat with the aromas of Jamaican fare on the burners, you’ll do so out of aluminum containers, Styrofoam cups and paper-lined cartons.

Get your bang-bang wings here, slathered in a sauce that’s sweeter than it is hot, but can be doctored to burn, if you so desire. Try them with collard greens, as slow-cooked as they should be and ready to partner with pretty much anything on the menu.

Bang bang wings

Collard greens

I found myself wishing the jerk chicken cheese fries would get a do-over:  They are presented as a layering of not-so-fiesty bird meat set over unseasoned fries with sheets of cheese melted atop part of the chicken. It needs better integration of ingredients, more assertive seasoning, and moistness overall.

Jerk chicken fries

We’d heard oxtails are quite popular here, and it’s indeed a heaping portion that arrives with spuds and thick chops of brassicas.


Fried tilapia, a tad dry under its heavy breading, is simple and served with greens and yellow rice. I’d love to see the folks here give it a bit of a dress-up, perhaps concocting a sauce that would brighten the taste of the fish.

We’ve come on a day when the desserts were not house-made, and the specials we’d heard were swell (jerk kebabs, curried shrimp) not offered. If that’s the case on your visit, snag the Soul Bowl, pep up an order of bang-bang wings with hot sauce and let the collards work their magic. It’s island time at Caribbean Soul.

Caribbean Soul, 233 Chambersbridge Road, Brick. BYO. 732-300-6156 and 732-475-7379. Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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