Back a Yard Caribbean-American Grill: A User’s Guide
From-Scratch Caribbean Cuisine | Southern Barbecue | Addictive Jerk Chicken | Corn Festivals
Jerk chicken: served with fried plantains, rice, and beans
Barbecue: pork spare ribs served with fries, a warm roll, and coleslaw
Seafood: fried snapper breaded with a special blend of herbs and spices
Dessert: sweet-potato pudding
Who's in the Kitchen? Chef-owner Robert Simpson’s techniques and recipes are the foundations for both Back a Yard locations: the one in downtown San Jose, and the original in Menlo Park. He began cooking at age 6 alongside his grandmother in Jamaica, and he went on to receive his formal training at the Culinary Institute of America.
Parking at the Menlo Park location can be tricky because it's all on the street. But the San Jose location is a bit easier, since Back a Yard validates parking at a huge garage nearby.
Don't let the hole-in-the-wall exterior of the original Menlo Park location fool you: inside, it's all colors, reggae tunes, and smiles.
Plantain: very popular in Caribbean dishes, these starchy fruits are a slightly larger cousin of the banana and must be cooked before serving.
Corn festivals: sweet, fritter-like treats made of cornmeal. They're deep-fried and often served with something more savory, especially fish.
Culture Lesson: "Back a Yard" isn't a typo. It's a term that means, quite simply, "back home." It refers to the spirit and welcoming nature of life in Jamaica.