5015 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95820. (916) 538-6818.

Last fall when my dad was visiting we happened to be driving down the Stockton Blvd corridor, when he pointed out a slightly obscured sign advertising a tiny Caribbean restaurant. Caribbean restaurant on Stockton Blvd? Noooo, he must be mistaken! It must be another pho shop. Upon closer inspection though- sure enough, wedged right next to Thrift Town and a neighborhood ice cream parlor, where a tasty soul food eatery used to occupy was a new Caribbean place. Huh. I made a mental note to check it out when I had a chance, but silly me as usual I forgot...until I happened to come across it several months later on Yelp. So on Thursday night, my friend Amanda agreed to go with me on a little food adventure and check the place out. We pulled into the near empty parking lot around 6pm and were greeted by the owner as we stepped up on the curb. He apologized about a soda mishap that they had just had and advised us to watch our step as we crossed the threshold into the dining room. The dining room though small was decorated in a cheery sunshine yellow with booths on one side and a smattering of tables on the other. Although I would describe the decor as casual, effort was definitely made to give it a classier vibe- cloth tablecloths, matching napkins and real glassware. Our server allowed us to choose a table and was over quickly with piping hot, fresh dinner rolls and to take our drink order. In addition to the usual soda lineup, Caribbean Breeze also carries ginger beer, cola champagne, pineapple soda and Vita Malt. I decided to try a beverage called, "Ting," which turned out to be a carbonated grapefruit beverage. It had a nice refreshing taste that was both simultaneously tart and sweet.

I'm not super familiar with Caribbean food (my only real experiences being the dinners my ex-husband and I used to grab at the now-defunct Jamaica House on Broadway) so I decided to play it relatively safe and go with Jerk Chicken. My dining companion, being much more adventurous ordered the goat curry. When our orders arrived, my plate consisted of 3 pieces of chicken, a big scoop of red beans and rice, some fried plantains and a few slices of fresh fruit. I cut into my chicken and found the meat was so soft and juicy that it literally fell off the bone (I didn't really even need to use the knife, I could have just push it off with my fork if I wanted to). Honestly, I loved my dinner- the chicken packed a nice spicy punch but the heat from the seasoning wasn't overwhelming, the plantains added a nice touch of sweetness and the beans and rice were perfectly cooked. Curious about the goat curry I asked Amanda what she thought. Much like my chicken, she said her goat meat was super tender and tasty; however, she found that the dish was slightly on the salty side. My dinner plate was quite filling, which was unfortunate because they had some wonderful sounding desserts on the menu- bread pudding, chocolate cake with a cream cheese filling as well as an almond and cream cheese poundcake. Drool!--Maybe next time. If the desserts taste nearly as good as their entrees though, I'm in trouble!

Prices range from a reasonable $7.95 to $11.95. The menu is fairly short but has a nice array of choices such as Caribbean style chicken curry, oxtail stew, grilled red snapper Jamaican patties and escoveitch fish. Entrees come with a small garden salad to start. The service we experienced was friendly although slightly awkward; however, we did find out that our server was new and was learning the ropes, which may have explained her quiet, tentative behavior. (I'm sure she'll be fine once she finds her footing.) Regardless, the owner more than made up for her shyness with his friendly exuberance and big smile. Overall, my visit to Caribbean Breeze Cuisine Restaurant was delightful. My only suggestion- it was a bit warm in the restaurant, they should maybe get some sort of airflow going via fan or AC too cool the dining room down; otherwise- hospitable, flavorful and affordable...what a fantastic addition to Sacramento's ethnic cuisine scene! I can't wait to go back. I hope you too support this small local eatery by taking the initiative to leave your suburban casa or your crib in the Grid and head over to Stockton Blvd for some homemade Caribbean comfort food-- you won't be disappointed!
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