On the Spot reviews are exactly that—reviews written on the spot, after eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner at a restaurant in Redlands.
Place: Dhat Island
When the mood for Caribbean food strikes, Dhat Island is there to take care of any and all cravings.
I got to Dhat Island just a few minutes after it opened for lunch, and there were already other patrons sitting down in the substantial dining area (there’s also a large patio that wraps around the restaurant). While their homemade lemonade is deliciously sweet and tart, I went with water to drink because I knew I was going to order another sugar-laden item: a side of yams ($6).
It doesn’t matter what else you order at Dhat Island: get the yams. They are perfectly prepared, soft but not mushy, in a delightfully sweet syrup. These are the star of the show.
For my entree, I ordered the Caribbean Shell Salad ($12.95), while my dining companion (a.k.a. my mom) chose the Eggplant Creole ($12.95), adding crab for $3. In addition to sharing the yams, we also ordered a side of macaroni and cheese ($6) to try.
The salad comes in a tomato tortilla shell, and is filled with black beans, rice, lettuce, tomatoes, and Dhat chicken, topped with cilantro dressing. The chicken was nice and tender, and not at all dry. It was a hefty salad, and I had enough leftovers to warrant asking for a box to take the rest home.
The Eggplant Creole is described in the menu as being “exotic” and “stewed to perfection with onions and tomatoes.” You get your choice of a side, and my mom went with the polenta and sweet plantains. This was another substantial portion, with several crab legs (that needed to be cracked) on top. The crab was an excellent addition to the flavorful dish, which didn’t skimp on the eggplant.
The macaroni and cheese was also delicious, delivered to the table hot and bubbling. It’s ooey and gooey, with lots of melted cheese on top of an already cheesy sauce, the noodles still retaining some firmness. I ended up taking most of this home and enjoying it later for dinner.
Had we not stuffed ourselves during lunch — and ordered yams that could double as a dessert — we would have ordered the amazing Beignets ($6/$8), fried dough topped with powdered sugar. These are so good, served piping hot and ready for immediate consumption. Make sure to save room for this simple yet delicious treat.
Dhat Island is a winner for lunch or dinner, but don’t rule out brunch, served Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. With bottomless mimosas (including guava, mango, and pomegranate flavors) and specialties like Southern Fried Chicken Benedict ($14.95) and Creole Shrimp and Grits ($15), it sounds like a must-try. Dhat Island, 308 W. State St., #1-A, Redlands. —Catherine
Posted: March 8, 2019