Today is our special day. The day we signed our eternal lease. No..not the mortgage, I am talking about our wedding anniversary. The last few years, we have agreed to go and try out new cuisine/new restaurant and splurge a bit. Last year we had the famous Anh’s family crabs in SF. The previous year we had kaiseki dinner in Santa Clara.
This year, we decided on Caribbean cuisine. It’s a bit hard to find restaurants in Bay Area that serve Caribbean cuisine. Yelp, is our source and confirmed that there were two. Mango Caribbean in Palo Alto and Back A Yard in Menlo Park. We inclined to try Back A Yard even though the place isn’t as fancy as the competitor in Palo Alto. But, alas, they closed the whole week after Christmas. So we settled with Mango Caribbean.
Hubby said that he went to a Caribbean restaurant before by the name Mango Café. Jatbar.com confirmed that there was a Mango Café before but it’s now closed. Mango Caribbean is actually in the same location as the Mango Café. I guess it changed ownership.
Okay, cut the crap. We went there around 3 PM. Yeah, weird hours to go for a meal. There were two occupied tables. A few ladies on one and a couple on the other. The couple was just finishing up and left when we were looking at the menu. We had some ideas in mind of what to order, but we couldn’t be ordering the same jerk chicken. So I decided to order seafood, instead of shrimps, I opted for snapper.
Mobay, our appetizer looks a bit plain when it arrived. The shrimps looked pale and didn’t seem to be seasoned at all. On one bite, it’s a bit bland. The plaintain on the other hand was sweet which went well with the coconut rice underneath it. But then, that blandness disappeared and replaced with warmth. The warmth kept building up to be a fire in our mouths afterward. No wonder the waitress warned us before hand. I noticed some tiny bits of pepper on the plate once we cleaned it up. I think they used habanero. It was good, but there’s a layer of oil on the plate, which I couldn’t quite figure why. Maybe the shrimps were blanched in the habanero infused oil ?
Hubby ordered Reggae Platter, which is jerk chicken with red bean rice and stir fry mixed vegetables. I ordered Little Ochi which supposed to be grilled snapper, but I seriously thought that what I got wasn’t grilled, but more like deep fried. So the difference between our order was just the chicken and snapper but the rest were the same. Rice and red bean cooked with coconut milk. Mixed vegetables was a nice touch to the platter. It could have been a healthy combination if only it’s less greasy. We couldn’t figure out what oil they used. Could it be coconut oil ? It had a bit sweetness to it, but other than that, the mixed vegetables were not seasoned at all.
Jerk chicken. I saw jerk chicken on one of Bourdain’s show about Jamaica. The chicken in the show looked dried and covered with spice. But the one hubby got was very tender, meat fell of the bone kind of tenderness. And there wasn’t much rub spiced on it. Not much taste in fact. My snapper was the same, not much taste and pretty bland. Fish wasn’t sweet, maybe it wasn’t fresh, that’s why it was deep fried ?? ha..ha.. who knows. I guess that’s why the waitress offered hot sauce. I said no to that, but hubby said yes. It’s a good thing that he did, because the sweetness of the ‘hot’ sauce helped with the taste of the otherwise bland dishes.
I’m curious as to whether that’s how the food should taste or they could have done a better job at portraying Caribbean cuisine. I guess, our next stop would be Back A Yard.