OC Restaurant Week 2013 - Cha Cha's Latin Kitchen (Brea)

A beautiful day in downtown Brea on the weekend makes one want to be able to try multiple eateries that line the main street. After all, everything does sound delicious. One restaurant that has constantly piqued my interest was Cha Cha's Latin Kitchen, a structure of bold black and yellow that always told me that I needed tacos that day. With Orange County Restaurant Week winding down, I had one more lunch to take and this place was the chosen one. My lunchmate for the day was a fellow Yelper and his son.

Whilst waiting for them to arrive as I had arrived a few moment early, I was treated to their complimentary chips and salsa (two types!). Salty, I must say. I did prefer the red over the green, and later on, my lunch companions concurred.

Though the Restaurant Week lunch menu was $15 and the dinner one $20, there weren't many differences. The addition of another choice of appetizers was one apparent one as well as the inclusion of dessert. We opted for the full experience route. For starters, there were choices of Caesar salad, a traditional tortilla soup, and chicken flautas. The last two were most appealing so we put our orders in for that (his son ate off of the kids' menu). The Traditional Tortilla Soup (fresh chicken, tortillas, roasted tomato and chile simmered in homemade broth served with crema fresca) came out in a sizeable bowl that was wide albeit shallow. While I enjoyed the chicken inside, the soup itself was saltier than I would have preferred. Perhaps the nature of a tortilla soup is like that seeing as I've always had very salty soups. Anyhow, he went for the Chicken Flautas (fresh chicken, roasted corn, guajillo chile, and Oaxacan cheese in crisp flour tortillas, served with mango-habanero salsa) which I had a mere bite of. The salsa on top certainly had a kick but it almost hid any other flavor that could have been present.


Moving on to the entrees, we had quite the spread to pick from: three tacos, crab & shrimp enchiladas, fresh grilled salmon, "wood-oven" carnitas, or roasted chicken. The decision was hard to make but ultimately I settled on the Crab & Shrimp Enchiladas (crab & shrimp sautéed with garlic, white wine, and poblano peppers, served with creamy habanero pesto sauce) and he the Fresh Grilled Salmon (chipotle-honey glazed on a bed of roasted potatoes, fresh corn and pasilla chilis). The enchiladas were not merely served with a creamy pesto sauce but rather smothered in them; sounds like enchiladas to me! Unfortunately, there really wasn't a strong habanero flavor to it though it really could have done with some extra spice. It came off salty as well - darn. The crab & shrimp was well cooked and tasted lovely in garlic. I also had sides of their salsa rice and their epazote beans, of which I preferred the beans between the two. As for the salmon, it looked to me to be liked as the plate was nearly completely cleaned. I did admire the presentation prior to it being eaten.


Desserts had three options: flan, tres leches cake, or chocolate taquitos. I went for some flan and he the taquitos which were chocolate with banana. The flan was actually very rescuing for the meal as it was very creamy and rich in flavor; I would definitely have multiple gos at it. I really liked the light caramel on top as well. The chocolate taquitos left something to be desired as the wrapper was much thicker than necessary. For a dessert, don't skimp on the filling!

Photography by Minerva Thai.

Looking for other bloggers chowing down during OC Restaurant Week 2013? See who's writing at http://www.orangecountyrestaurantweek.com/OC_Food_Blogs_That_Rock.html!

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