Sunday, January 9, 2011

Dhat Island Caribbean Creole

Judy and I recently ate dinner at Dhat Island Caribbean Creole Cuisine, located at 509 N. Eureka Street, Redlands, CA 92374 (phone: 909-792-1718). I looked at various Yelp reviews before going in and the vast majority of people ate their chicken, and most of those who reviewed particularly liked their bourbon chicken. A number of reviews recommended the curry goat as well as the ox-tail stew. I tend to like things moist and well-seasoned. I ruled out the bourbon chicken because it is a chicken breast and I prefer the thighs which are moister and more flavorful. We decided to try the goat and ox-tail, but they did not have ox-tail, so we got grilled whole red snapper instead. I've had curry goat before at several Indian restaurants. This was more goat and less curry than I've had before. The goat was flavorful, but a little more well done than I prefer. 
I think I would have enjoyed a little more curry along with it. It was good, but probably not an item I would order again. As part of the entree we were given the choice of Caribbean red beans and rice or black bean sauce with white rice. We both got the red beans and rice and enjoyed them very much. I would perhaps enjoy it a little more wet, but the flavor was very good. We also had a choice of sweet plaintains or green plantains. I got the sweet plantains and they were okay. I didn't love them. I've had sweet plantains at a Cuban restaurant before and liked them a little better, but even then I'm not a major fan. I sampled,  but did not finish them. I also got a side dish of greens with smoked turkey.
I don't find this on the on-line menu, but my recollection was that it included collared greens which I can eat, but don't love. I actually thought they did a very good job with the greens. They had a nice smoked flavor and I readily finished them off. Judy got the grilled red snapper. It was a beautiful and unusual looking dish. The red snapper head and tail are unusual to begin with, then the red snapper scales are colorful. 
Add in some avocado garnish and it was a beautiful looking dish. The flesh was scored so that it was relatively easy to get the meat off. The creole sauce was good. I prefer really moist fish, to the point of having pink in it. This was not overcooked, but more cooked than is ideal for me. Judy brought much of it home and I enjoyed it the next day heated up. Judy got the green plaintains instead of the sweet plaintains. 
They fry them up similar to hash browns. It was different, but I didn't particularly love them. We've not had a lot of Caribbean food exposure, so we'll go again and try some other dishes. Overall, I enjoyed the food because it was unusual and it was decent, but I was not wowed by any of our dishes. I'm hoping that there may be a wow there for me.

Updated: October 5, 2013

Since this post we have been back a few times together and Judy has gone with friends a number of times. But I had not been in over a year. Judy and I went in for lunch today and everything we got was fantastic. The menu has increased quite a bit and a number of fun dishes have appeared. I feel like they've stepped up a notch (or two) and turned into a first class restaurant. I will be going back soon, and more regularly.

We ordered two tamales from the starters menu with the idea of sharing them: ox-tail tamale with shredded ox-tail meat, cheese and sauce; and curry goat tamale with goat meat, cheese and curry sauce. First of all, we were shocked by how large they were, we could go in and have one as a meal by itself. Second, they were fantastic. The tamale was moist and not over-bearing, the cheese was plentiful and the meat was plentiful and flavorful. Third, we argued back and forth and never did come to a consensus which one was which. They were everything I love about a good restaurant: unusual, never seen anything remotely like them; pleasing to the eye; and had great flavor.
tamale - ox tail or goat
tamale - ox tail or goat - both were excellent
Judy got a baby coconut to drink and it was a coconut cut open with a straw. The coconut had been chilled and the coconut water was cold. I got a coconut pineapple smoothie that included ice, sorbet, coconut water and pineapple. It was like eating dessert. Very cold, very sweet and it lasted a long time. I typically will get a drink and swig it down quickly. Because of the coldness and strong flavor, I was content to take small swigs of this and enjoyed it immensely. It is also on my list of items to eat again. 
baby coconut
coconut pineapple smoothie
After eating the tamales, there was no way we were going to finish our entrees, but we put a dent in them and saved the rest for dinner. Judy got Griyo (island pork) which is a traditional Haitian dish with twice-cooked marinated pork, garnished with pickles. Judy also got red beans and rice and green plantains to go with it. I am not typically an orderer of pork (I find that restaurants tend to over-cook it), but I thought it was quite good for a pork dish. It was quite juicy and had a nice flavor. I got Creole turkey, a turkey leg, slow cooked with Creole sauce. I also got red beans and rice, but got sweet plantains. The turkey meat was falling off the bone and was quite moist. The Creole sauce has a tomato base but is not real thick. I got a hint of Tobasco taste with it which I liked. The Creole sauce mixed in with the the read beans and rice was excellent (if I could order the red beans and rice with the Creole sauce, I would - I may ask next time I go in). 
Griyo (island pork)
Creole turkey leg, with sweet plantains and red beans and rice.
It was more busy than I've ever seen it and I came away in awe. It got my attention today. I'll be back. 


  1. I'd like to go back and try one of their salads or their signature chicken dish.

  2. We liked it too, I liked the veggie dish, and the Caribbean Cake was awesome! You can check out John's blog post.