Caribbean Cove Restaurant- Cocoa,Fl- 2-Stars
"Success needs no explanation. Failure does not have one that matters." --J. Jackson
Maybe it comes with the territory of being a tourist trap in general. Maybe it has to do with the "industrialized food" mindset left over from the 50s that permeated Americana and went hand in hand with military bases. All I know is that it seems to be harder and harder to find anything higher than a 3 star joint to dine at in Cocoa and the surrounding area. Case in point my recent ill-fated journey to Caribbean Cove in Cocoa. Located just off of King Street (SR 520) in a brightly painted Caribbean-green building is where Dorothy, the owner, hangs her shingle.
The aforementioned Dorothy was also my server for the meal and while I found her to be on the ball, she refused to answer what I thought was a logical question. Dorothy is of the Indian subcontinent ethnicity and while I am all for branching out and exploring, learning and stealing from other cultures, I had to ask her how she ended up involved in Caribbean food. I thought the answer might be fascinating, or at the least, interesting...alas, I will never know as she would not answer. She just skipped over it and began going over the menu. Shrugging it off as a Cultural thing (maybe I crossed a line in Indian culture by asking a personal question?), I moved on to place my order for one serving Stewed Chicken and one helping of their Curry Chicken along with a Jamaican cream soda to wash it all down.
Glancing around while awaiting my food, I couldn't help but notice the lack of any and all decorations on the walls, or any place else for that matter. I could only hope that they were pouring all their operating expenses into top notch quality food. Before too long Dorothy returned with my order and I began to sample her chow. Stirring the stew a bit with my spoon, I couldn't seem to find a piece of chicken sans fat or gristle. Try as I might, I just couldn't do it. I tried to take a bite of the one with the most meat to gristle/fat ratio, but even that one had too little meat. Overall, the chicken was gross and inedible.
I found about the same quality of chicken in the curry dish as I did in the stew, it was only of a slightly better grade. While the chicken may have been edible in this dish, the dish as a whole was rather bland. The rice, while steamed to perfection fell exceedingly flat on the palate. The cabbage, however, was not only cooked properly but bursting with flavor! Sadly, that was the best of the lot. Oh, I would feel ashamed if I didn't mention the fact that while the Jamaican cream soda was super tasty and creamy, I saw it at Publix for .$51/bottle. As one can see from my review, Dorothy is not putting the money into high-grade ingredients, and as I mentioned, she is certainly not investing in interior decorating, which leaves one to wonder where she is putting her revenue.
I did check out her FaceBook page after my meal and found it loaded with posts about Caribbean festivals and music acts. I think she is focusing more on the Lounge part of the place than the restaurant part. My question to her is, "Why not both?" If you are looking for some tasty cabbage and an owner with an air of mystery, this is the place to go, if you are looking for a good sampling of Caribbean cuisine, however, the Big Boy says, "Not here. Not by a long shot." #iamthebigboy #bigboydiningout