A few years ago, I heard about the Caribbean Treehouse, a restaurant that serves food from Trinidad and Tobago, but it wasn't until I saw a post on the Man Bites World blog that I saw pictures of any of the food itself. Although the descriptions sounded tasty, it still took me awhile to finally check it out for myself and when I did, I brought along a group of friends along, with one of them being Trini born and bred. I was definitely very interested in getting her take on her "home" food.
One thing to note about this restaurant is "Treehouse" is part of its name for a good reason. There's actually a tree in the dining room that goes through the roof of the restaurant. Now that's not something you see everyday.
For our meal, my group of friends shared 9 dishes. We started off with the beef and chicken pies, which were more like hand pies as opposed to being cooked in pie shells. The pastry was actually quite flaky, so that was the pro; however, the cons included beef that was a little too salty and chicken that was dry and under-seasoned. So far, this wasn't a good start to our dinner.
From meat pies, we went on to their rotis, one that was vegetarian (potato and green beans) and the other was filled with goat. They looked like giant burritos on the plate. Taste-wise, they were okay, not bad, not memorable, but definitely filling.
On the weekends, they serve a dish called the Sparrow Special and being there on a Saturday, of course we had try it out. The Sparrow Special is made up of strips of salt cod, boiled cassava, sauteed onion and tomato. This was actually one of the better tasting dishes of the night, but the boiled cassava was a little undercooked and was also lacking any kind of seasoning. Considering that the onions, fish and tomatoes were a great flavor combo, it was almost as if the cassava was cooked on its own and added to the dish later on. Next to arrive was the Shrimp Curry, which was quite disappointing. The shrimp was overcooked and the curry, if there was any, was missing in action.
While the crab portion of the Crab Dumpling dish was at least fairly meaty and the sauce was tasty, the dumplings were simply horrible. I rarely use that word as a food descriptor because it's pretty harsh, but horrible is truly the best way to describe these dumplings that were so hard, they could have been used as hockey pucks.
So far, my Trini friend was less than impressed with our meal; however, the one dish that disappointed her the most was the stewed king fish. The fish on our plate wasn't stewed by any means. It was fried. Yes, fried. She described the dish as being comprised of all these ingredients that sounded really yummy. Unfortunately, I can't remember the ingredients she mentioned, but they were a far cry from the reality of what we had before us. Our disappointing journey into food from my friend's country ended with an Oxtail Stew that was more bony than meaty with the meat itself being tough and chewy.
I was really excited to bring my Trini friend here and out of a score of 1 to 10, I was generous with 5 to 6. She felt she was generous with a score of 3. Ouch! Oh well, the only good thing that came out of this is her promise to prepare a home-cooked Trini meal for me so that I could really experience what her "home food" is all about. Hmmmm.....that reminds me. I need to give her a call and make sure she remembers her promise. :)
Caribbean Treehouse Restaurant
1226 Centinela Avenue
Inglewood, CA 90302
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Caribbean Tree House
1226 Centinela Ave, Inglewood, CA 90302