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Starters: At Paradise Island, Tonawanda Jamaican restaurant, braised oxtails mom would love

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By Andrew Z. Galarneau

A new Jamaican restaurant has opened at 244 Niagara Falls Blvd., formerly Negril One Stop.

It's called Paradise Island (259-8440), and it turned the lights on about four weeks ago. 

I went in for some takeout and the tables were empty. Someone's been working on the place though, and it's been spruced up considerably.

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Ordered escovitch (whole fried snapper in vinegar pepper sauce) ($12.95), oxtail stew, pictured above ($10.50), jerk chicken ($9.50), jerk wings ($9.50) and curry chicken ($9.50).

The oxtail made me happiest, with lots of rich beef on the little bones,  Of the sides, the cabbage was homey and sweet, and the rice with pigeon peas, the mashed potatoes of the Caribbean, was spot on.

Here's what the escovitch looked like:

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It obviously wasn't fried to order but the fillets were still moist enough, and the pepper sauce gave the mild flesh some kick. I just wish I had more patience with the little bones. The plantains were more potato-like and chewy than sweet and banana-esque.

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The jerk chicken wasn't dried out, and the skin was charred on a grill, so it wasn't a failure. It didn't have the smokiness of charcoal or wood, though. The wings were similar. Both benefited from the house allspice-forward jerk sauce, which was not spicier than your average hot Buffalo wing.

The curry chicken, with potatoes and cabbage, was tender, meek and mild, too.

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There's a Facebook page up, with more food photos, here.

Here's the menu:

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("Starters" is a quick glimpse inside a restaurant, not a full review. Send nominations and tips to agalarneau@buffnews.com) 

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Food and Drink
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