Cha Cha Chicken Caribbean Cuisine

A little over a year ago I used to live in Santa Barbara, when I lived in Santa Barbara I was neighbors with a good friend of mine, her name was Tamra and she was Jamaican.  I would come over for dinners and she would make THE BEST Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Jamaican stew with ox-tail and little floating dumplings with a side of dirty rice.  So what if I've never had Jamaican cuisine before Tamra's delicious Jamaican meals?  My taste buds don't lie!  If I'm slobbering all over myself and experiencing tunnel vision with each bite it's sure to be because it was that damn good.

Sadly, I moved away to Los Angeles and away from Santa Barbara which also meant no more home-made Jamaican cuisine.  And Los Angeles may have a lot of restaurants but there is a vey real lack of Jamaican restaurants, so when I saw Cha Cha Chicken and Jerk Chicken on the menu I got fairly excited.  For two days Cha Cha Chicken was all I could think about and so Brother Charlie and I cruised into Santa Monica for a nice little walk in the sun, ocean-side and of course, some Cha CHA Chicken!

Cha Cha Chicken is a shack that stands on Ocean Blvd in Santa Monica south of the Santa Monica Pier.  The shack is vibrant with oranges, blue and red.  A walk-up counter is where you order and there is seating on both sides of the shack.

The place is called Cha Cha Chicken and so of course we go for the Cha Cha Chicken on the menu, we think it has to be the best, right?  Afterall, the shack IS named after it!

The Cha Cha Chicken dish comes in 1/4 or 1/2 orders, Brother Charlie and I both get 1/4 order of the Cha Cha Chicken which comes with two sides of your choice, plus a little tiny salad.  I opt on a side of dirty rice and plantains.

Cha Cha Chicken with a side of dirty rice & plantains

The chicken was smothered in sauce or shall I say the sauce sat on top of the chicken, not quite the Jamaican dry-rub jerk-chicken I had my heart set on.  The sauce was slightly sweet and mildy spicy, nothing to call Tamra about, except maybe to tell her to open up a Jerk Shack real soon, she would blow this place out of the water!

The dirty rice was a little too dry and so were the plantains.  I love plantains that are cooked sweet and gooey not tasteless and dry!  At this point I'm crying inside.

Thank god the fresh watermelon juice was delicious!

... But seriously, it was probably the only thing that was.

Yes, I may have come to Cha Cha Chicken with high expectations and yes Cha Cha Chicken would only have gotten a good review had they surpassed the deliciousness Friend Tamra had fed into me, then again... Why wouldn't you go into a restaurant with high expectations?  Your tummy only deserves the best afterall.

And so unfortunately, my hopes and dreams of finding a Jamaican Fave was dashed, instead of finding Cha Cha Chicken I found Cha Cha Nothin!  

Weekend's at Cha Cha Chicken?  The line is out the door and it makes me think 'perhaps these people have never had real Jamaican cuisine before?'  Because if they had, they would take one bite of that Cha Cha Chicken and realize this tastes nothing like Jamaican cuisine.

Brother Charlie & his pet bird who came to grub and instead
ended up with Cha Cha NOTHIN!

The Damage:  $22.00

2 1/4 orders of Cha Cha Chicken
1 Fresh watermelon juice

Cha Cha Chicken
1906 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica CA
(310 581.1684

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