The Monster recently had a dream he was in the old Jewish Center pool (the indoor one with the funky smell and oddly green flourescent lights) fishing in an inflatable raft for food. Mind you, the food he was fishing for was things like chicken parmigiana, sushi and turkey burgers. And while The Monster can’t entirely be sure, he believes the specific turkey burger he was fishing for was the jerk turkey variety served at Cha Cha Chicken in Santa Monica.
A shack (literally) a few hundred yards from the beach, this brightly festooned Caribbean restaurant plays a steady reggae groove while doling out mouth-watering portions of jerk chicken enchiladas done Jamaican style smothered in their sweet spicy mango/pineapple jerk sauce or spicy black pepper shrimp sautéed with pineapple and garlic and reduced in a sweet spicy jerk sauce that’s served with dirty rice and black beans, plantains and red cabbage slaw. Just writing that makes The Monster hungry. And wish he always had such delicious dreams.
Be it breakfast, lunch or dinner; Cha Cha is an inviting place (so long as it is not cold or raining) to relax and enjoy a great meal at an affordable price. The Monster has been frequenting Cha Cha for fourteen years so he’s pretty much been up and down the menu. Can’t remember anything he wouldn’t recommend.
On this day the order is the jerk turkey burger smothered in jerk sauce with cheese, grilled onions, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mustard, with the delicious crispy Cuban spicy fries; Spanish style chicken gumbo served with a home baked corn muffin and a half watermelon juice/half lemonade (all the juices are fresh and wonderful). Order at the counter and wait under the sun for the server to bring you food. Once the food was served The Monster did not speak again until each plate was wiped clean.
This is also a BYOB affair which means a casual night may be spent under the stars with some Red Stripe, great music and terrific food. Given they also have a small lot and friendly staff, it’s a nice respite from the LA scene.
Why go? Like The Monster, you have some crazy dreams.
Monster rating: 4 ½/5 Monsters
1906 Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90405