Cha and Cafe
We recently received a flyer anouncing the upgrade of this former Vietnamese coffee house. It includes an extensive and very interesting menu including tapas, salads, sandwiches, rice dishes etc. It is located in El Monte. Has anyone tried this restaurant yet? The ad includes pictures of some of the dishes and I must admit they look rather appetizing.
Cha and Cafe
10308 Lower Azusa Road
El Monte, CA
(Corner of Lower Azusa and Arden Dr.)
I'll answer my own question. We went to Cha and Cafe yesterday and were very happy with the food. The slow service was a turn-off but the waitress kept coming over and apologizing and then discounted our bill. The food though made up for the wait. We're not really into fancy restaurants with names of dishes we've never heard of so this may be really simplistic to some with a more sophisticated palate. But it made us feel good and may appeal to a lot of you in the area. The restaurant itself was very clean and we liked the atmosphere. They had TV's all around so the long wait was appeased somewhat by watching the news ( a lot of it not so good tho'.) My B/H had the kalbi beef cheesesteak which he loved. It was well seasoned, moist and came on a fresh toasted baguette with Siracha Aioli. I had the grilled chicken bowl with a light salad and rice topped with teriyaki, Siracha aioli and furikaki. I have to say this rice was the most delicious rice I think I have ever had. The grilled chicken was delicious, grilled with crispy golden outside and a moist chicken inside. The salad was nothing more than fresh crisp romaine with some shreds of carrot and a light and refreshing dressing that was probably little more than rice vinegar. Very pleasing with the other heavier foods. I also ordered the kalbi beef Ssam Bap. It came on a crisp romaine lettuce leaf and was topped with hot beef and an orange tasting salsa. Very good. To top everything off, my B/H had a bannana smoothie which he liked but he loved, as did I, the Thai tea frappe. It was sooo good. Monica, the waitress, was personality plus and the chef seemed to take a special interest in the patrons once the kitchen slowed down.
I came home and called a friend who loves food the way I do and he and his girfriend went to Cha and Cafe last night. He called me this a.m. and said 'thanks for the recommendation." He loved it. He said the shrimp tacos were incredible. They're shrimp marinated in a zesty lemon grass sauce fried in a wonton skin and topped with crispy lettuce. He also had the Hawaiian poke with fried wonton chips. He said it was good but a little bit dry. He likes my recipe (Sam Choys) for poke better. He ordered so many items and loved everything including the grilled chicken bowl that I had recommended. We will definitely be back to this place soon as there are so many menu items we want to try. No liquor but an extensive list of drinks, smoothies, frappes, teas, juices and specialties including something called "Penny worth & mung bean", Durian and "Peanut Butter Monkey." They even have Mexican coke! Hope you' try it.