The I.E Soul Food Tour dines at ‘Dhat Creole Grill’ inside the Riverside Food Lab.
Riverside Food Lab
The Riverside Food Lab is a unique and trendy environment that lends itself to the exploration of food and good times with friends, family, or on a date.
Inside the location is fashioned after a food court like you would see in the mall but with trendy stations offering everything from vegan burgers to ramen, creole food, ice cream and drinks.
As Inland Empire’s first food hall, we showcase several artisanal eateries and bars that celebrate Riverside’s diverse cuisines and latest foodie trends!- a culinary showcase that connects Riverside's agricultural roots with the latest trends in foodie culture. -Riverside Food Lab.
The Hall is located downtown at 3605 Market Street, Riverside, CA 92501, and is attached directly to a city parking structure.
According to their website, parking is free for the first 90 minutes in the structure and there is also limited on street parking during certain hours.
'Dhat Creole Grill'
The menu at 'Dhat Creole Grill' offers Caribbean and Southern fusion entrees, seafood, sandwiches, plant-based items and more.
"Before opening their first restaurant, Dhat Island, Angela and Carlo Alce owned an independent catering company, serving food that was a blend of Carlo's Caribbean heritage and Angela's southern heritage”. -Dhat Creole Grill Website
I arrived at the counter about 6:30pm and was greeted by a friendly young lady-counter person who went over the menu and offered samples for me to try before ordering. After placing the order, I was given a buzzer and the food was ready in about 10 minutes.
When the food was ready, I took it to the common patio dining area as opposed to one of the counter spots indoors. The patio was lively with people and music playing.
After sampling the bourbon chicken and the jerk chicken I ordered a combination plate that had both along with red beans and rice, macaroni salad, sautéed vegetables, and plantains.
I also tasted their fried catfish, gumbo, black beans and rice, and for dessert the beignets.
The meats were tasty, and I especially enjoyed the bourbon chicken. Both were cooked well and steeped in sauces that were very palatable and went well with the rest of the plate.
The jerk chicken seasoning wasn’t as bold as I’ve had before but it was good nevertheless, and with the red beans and rice it worked.
The fried catfish pieces were nice and golden crisp just the way I prefer. Of note the tartar sauce, I wasn't particularly fond of. The fish was well seasoned and I ended up not needing anything else to highlight its flavor.
I wanted to love the macaroni salad because it had good flavor, but it was very dry for some reason. There were occasional hard bits of pasta in it.
The plantains and sauteed vegetables were okay. The black beans were good however the rice with it was undercooked, hard and dry.
The chicken gumbo had a light roux. For an extra charge shrimp was added to it. The gumbo left just a bit to be desired. I would almost say it tasted watered down. It had a strong lemony flavor that was different.
Beignets are popularly known in Louisiana as a breakfast item served with powdered sugar on top. Similar to a type of fritter, or deep-fried pastry.
The beignets were cooked to order and served hot, fresh, and with a thick raspberry topping for dipping. They were so good!. I have had the luxury of eating beignets in New Orleans and this is exactly how I remembered them.
They are the best beignets I have tasted outside of Louisiana.
Impression and EATER Score
I would rate the overall meal a 7.5/10 on the EATER scale. The beignets would need their own rating as they were exceptional.
I’d love to visit 'Dhat Creole Grill' again as well as other eateries in the Food Lab. I'd recommend this as a nice place to go with friends, family, or a partner.
Have you tried ‘Dhat Creole Grill’ or any of the eateries in the Food Lab? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!
The I.E Soul Food Tour with Lashaun Turner, spotlights Restaurants that specialize in Southern Soul Food. I also share local dining experiences encompassing all types of cuisine.
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