Throw me into the mix of longtime Norwalkers who were shocked and saddened when the iconic Swanky Franks abruptly closed less than a year ago. What’s done is done. I’ve come to grips with the notion that I’ll be forever sour that I can’t order a ripper with chili and a pile of fresh cut fries heavily drizzled with ketchup. I grew up eating there so I’m entitled to hold onto that nostalgia. That doesn’t mean I won’t support what’s there now.
About six months after Swanky’s called it quits, a banner appeared on the front of the building. It advertised a new roadside joint called No Leftovers featuring Jamaican food. When No Leftovers opened at the start of 2018, I noticed the parking lot was usually full, or close to it, multiple times throughout the day. That’s a good sign. And seeing how I really like jerk chicken, I knew had to check it out.
What’s evident from the jump is that there’s a casualness about No Leftovers. You walk in, there’s a dry erase board menu, and you order at the counter. They do a lot of takeout business but there are a bunch of stools in the dining area on the left if you wish to dine-in. The menu has its staples; jerk chicken/pork, oxtail, curry goat, a daily fish dish, and a soup of the day. There’s also chicken wings, Jamaican style dumplings, beef patties, and two sides, mac & cheese and a simple whole-roasted sweet potato.
I’ll let you figure out what you want on your own, but the best bang for your buck is the massive two-meat combo meal. For $18, it’s a hearty portion of meat, rice & beans with oxtail gravy, and sweet plantains. A serious offering that’s enough for two people. Our drooling mouths practically hit the counter while we watched one of the cooks take a clever to juicy, liberally seasoned jerk chicken and pork, who offered us samples as he chopped up the meat. I grabbed a Ting—a Jamaican grapefruit soda—out of the fridge and three of us hopped on respective bar stools to dig in.
Of the two proteins, I liked the pork the best. It forked apart easily, like pulled pork. The chicken—both dark and white pieces—was solid too but was even better when I tried a few of the restaurant’s different heat scale jerk sauces on it. The hottest one—maybe go light on it if you can’t handle spicy stuff—had a nice vinegar pop and I can handle the heat so I was all about it. The container came with plenty of rice & beans, normally a bad thing if the rice sucks, but when it’s topped with chunks of oxtail from the rich gravy and pickled cabbage, carrots, and peppers, more rice is a damn good thing.
After we reached our eating max, we inquired about some of the wordage we saw on No Leftovers’ original sign that included “fried chicken, fried whiting, and fries.” They told us that they’re not sure if they’ll go that route since they’re trying to promote a more health conscious menu. Even fried foods are cooked in coconut oil as opposed to vegetable oil.
I’m sold on this place and I know I’ll be a regular. I’m just not sold on the restaurant’s name. With the amount of food they give you, it’s impossible to not have leftovers! But that’s a good problem to have.
No Leftovers 182 Connecticut Ave, Norwalk (203) 354-4333