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Oct 10, 2008 05:39 PM

Coconuts, Palo Alto

Does anyone have any info on this restaurant? Evidently it took the place of Hukilau; while Dan Pitt's site referred to it as "Hukilau Hawaiian-style Caribbean" (?), the menu looks quite Jamaican -- and the chef appears to be the same guy who runs Back-A-Yard in Menlo Park.

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    1. (Trying to make it actually link the place I created earlier...)

      642 Ramona Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

      1. While I'm talking to myself here, I ended up going to Coconuts for dinner tonight with friends. It *is* the chef from Back-A-Yard; the manager I talked to briefly said they "stole him" away, although it sounded like he was pretty willing to be stolen: it's a much bigger, nicer space with a full bar.

        I had the jerk chicken dinner, which was awfully reminiscent of what I'd had at BAY, not surprisingly, including the coconut rice. The grilled vegetable side was new, I think, and just as good as everything else. They asked if I wanted the jerk mild or spicy; I had spicy ("mild jerk" are two words that just shouldn't go together), and it definitely had a kick but it wasn't daredevil stunt seasoning. I think I liked the jerk a little more here than what I remember at BAY, actually. The presentation was nicer, and at $13.50, the price was still reasonable.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chipotle

          Has Back-a-Yard closed? Chef Robert was the owner and not just the cook.

        2. Coconuts came up in Restaurant Roulette last week, and it got a split review among our diners.

          I can't say as to whether they have the chef from BAY. My favorite dish at BAY is the pork jerk, which they don't have at Coconuts. The jerk itself does have quite a bit of similarity - tasty, not hot.

          My GF got a tasty rum drink, she said it improved her perception of the food. I'm not sure that's a good thing.

          I got a coconut shrimp dish, and it was only OK. The coconut tastes didn't bounce forward, the shrimp was fresh enough but not *fresh*.

          We shared the appetizer platter, and there were good tasty bits there. I thought the jerk was the most tasty thing on the plate, dunked everything possible in it. I would only recommend getting the jerk dishes.

          We'll def. go back a few more times. It's a winning combination of a place. Probably on friday and saturday nights when everything else is crowded.

          The place is certainly more upscale than BAY, but that's not saying much. It's nice that there are open seats, and it's open past 8pm, and there's a parking lot across the street, but I'll give a substantial food edge to BAY.

          1. We just stopped by here this evening for dinner with husband and two kids. Overall, thumbs up from us.

            I had the curried shrimp, which was served with steamed rice and a mango "chutney" that they described as a salsa. Flavorful, mild in spice - I would have enjoyed more, but I like very spicey food. Also came with fried plantains, which were OK, not great, but any plantain is good in my book.

            Husband had the oxtail, which he really enjoyed. Rich gravy. Served with red beans and rice, veggies and plantains. He very much enjoyed it, and is looking forward to exploring more of the menu.

            One son had mac and cheese and red beans and rice - guess he is carbo loading after an active day! He ate about half the mac and cheese before declaring it weird. Husband said it was very good, but had a distinctive cheese in it. Red beans and rice are better as a side with a meat than on their own, but son still ate it. He ate quite a bit of his brothers chicken.

            Other son had plain grilled chicken (special order due to allergy), red beans and rice, plantains and veggies. He liked it all. I think they must have originally sent out jerk, because our meal took a really long time to come out. But they only charged us for a side of jerk chicken instead of an entire meal.

            Service was very nice, and they dealt well with our allergy. Our options were rather limited, but there were good things to choose from. We are definitely going back to explore more of the menu. I am not an expert on Carribean food, it hit the spot tonight.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jsaimd

              Thanks for finding this! Back-A-Yard is too small and too far away to entice us to go, but Coconuts takes reservations and is closer to us. We finally got around to trying it tonight.

              Our curried shrimp and curried goat entrees were excellent and very reminiscent of some of the best versions of these dishes that we've had in the Caribbean. The jerk wings were nicely done. I saw that jerk pork is available as an appetizer; we'll try that another time. It's been ages since I've seen corn festivals on a menu (a fried dough variant with corn) and these were excellent, again reminiscent of the best versions of this that we've had. There was no room for dessert after all this - next time we'll just get entrees so we have a chance at trying some.

              We'll be back!