We recently had the pleasure of dining at Chef Rob's Caribbean Cafe, a cozy restaurant in the heart of Sandy Springs, at the owner's invitation. We knew we were in for a treat, but little did we know we would be transported on a culinary journey straight to Jamaica!
Chef Rob is an expert at caribbean-fusion cuisine. Jamaican, Asian and southern American flavor inspirations merged into unique dishes that tantalized our taste buds. We munched on the sampler platter which included conch fritters, coconut shrimp, jerk chicken egg rolls and jerk chicken wings with a variety of house-made dipping sauces. Customer favorites include the jerk chicken caesar salad, cajun seafood pasta and curried goat. Vegetarians will enjoy the "Rasta Pasta" and Bob Marley's "Vegetarian Delight" - assorted grilled vegetables, fresh rosemary, butter beans in a light vegetable broth served over fettuccine pasta with a sweet chili sauce or caribbean jerk.
Now, when one thinks of the Caribbean, wine is definitely not the first thing that comes to mind. Chef Rob's is best known for pouring marvelous mojitos, but the bar manager treated us to a special flight from the new wine list. Although the list is small and still being fine-tuned, they offer a few options that traditionally pair best with spicy foods. Look for aromatic whites like Gewürtztraminer (pronounced guh-VOORTS-truh-MEE-nur), Pinot Grigio (PEA-no GREE-jzhee-o) and Riesling (REEZ-ling).
TIP: Well-chilled, crisp, fruity whites work better than reds overall to combat the rich, spicy flavors of caribbean dishes. Hot food in general should be paired with wines that have a somewhat sweet element to them. Look for refreshing dry-sweet or lightly sweet wines for a great pairing experience.
We now understand why music moguls (Chef Rob developed the concept of Justin's Restaurant for Sean "P-Diddy" Combs) and locals alike flock here when they need a culinary escape. Lively music, vibrant decor, daily food and drink specials, nightly events and a courteous staff are awaiting you. So, if you can't take a quick getaway to Jamaica, Chef Rob's Caribbean Cafe is the next best thing!
Oh yeah, did we mention they cater? Visit www.chefrobscafe.com for the address, menu and event schedule.