Walk into Chokas Caribbean restaurant and instantly you’re on island time.
It is a real hidden spot on South Beach. There’s an island sunset painting on der. It is a true family-run eatery with husband and wife Terry and Maureene Persad turning out tasty Trinidadian cuisine. Both pairs of great grandparents came from India to work on a sugarcane plantation in Trinidad. Son Tarek is in the kitchen with Dad and Mom rolls out the roti flatbreads.
They are from Port of Spain where Terry ran a commercial printing business before leaving for Rochester in upstate New York 30 years ago, where they catered parties. The family relocated to South Florida three years ago and opened Chokas. The name refers to an Indian dish of roasted and mashed vegetables seasoned with spices.
Start With These Dishes
Start with fried plantains and a ginger beer. During carnival season and at Christmas, they serve sorrel, a tangy, sweet and floral-tasting red drink made from dried hibiscus flowers. It’s brewed into a tea served chilled.
Move on with a Buss Up Shut Paratha roti, tender flaky layers of dough cooked on a griddle and beaten with two long flat sticks called dablas. The ragged bread is often called Torn Shirt. It got its name from the popular 1970s television show “The Incredible Hulk,” when the character tears off his shirt and morphs into the Hulk. Use the bread to scoop up potato and mashed chickpea or goat curry.
Share These Dishes
Come on the weekend for pineapple jerk chicken served in a halved, hollowed out pineapple shell. The chicken is cooked with pineapple for a fruity flavor enhanced by the house jerk spice blend served in creamy barbecue sauce.
Roti are also big enough to share with a choice of chicken, beef, goat, spiny lobster tail and shrimp curry. The curries come folded up in thin roti, sort of like a plump burrito with a side of potato chickpea curry and cabbage bits steamed with curry powder. Plant eaters can get the veggie roti stuffed with the cabbage and potato chickpea curry mash.
There’s also stewed chicken, browned in brown sugar then simmered with hot peppers, spices and tomato. It goes well with rice and red beans. The owners have lots of Jamaican friends that come here so they also serve jerk shrimp and chicken and stewed oxtail. This is the only place to get stewed shredded oxtail in a roti with house made hot pepper sauce that we know of.
Save Room For Dessert
Order a piece of moist chewy pone, made from grated yuca and coconut with coconut milk, evaporated milk, brown sugar and spices.
Contact Linda Bladholm at email@example.com. Hidden Gems highlights out-of-the-way restaurants in Miami-Dade County. It is not intended to be an anonymous, critical review.
Chokas Caribbean Restaurant
Address: 710 Washington Avenue, Suite #3, Miami Beach
Contact: 305-432-7477, chokascaribbean.com
Hours: Monday-Thursday noon-11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon-midnight
Prices: Roti $14-$32, paratha roti $ 6, entrees $11-$17, sides $7, dessert $5
F.Y.I. No alcohol