Cha Chas Grille Y Cantina
Sadly this restaurant is now closed!
(Photos by Nancy Jackson)
Welcome to Cha Cha’s Grilled Y Cantina (the Y means “and” in Spanish).
Come on in and join Mr. Wonderful and me as we experience the flavors of Mexico in this fabulous restaurant.
Cha Cha’s is the latest project of the Hal Smith restaurant group who have brought us places like Hefner Grill, Louie’s, Charleston’s and Ted’s Café Escondido. And this addition to Norman didn’t disappoint us one bit.
The atmosphere is fun, colorful and hip.
There is an upstairs to accomodate even more seating than the ground floor, but since it was gorgeous weather, we actually chose to sit outside on their really sweet patio.
The patio offered two levels, either covered on the deck or further out on tables with umbrella. The really cool thing about these umbrellas, is that later on in the evening, when the sun set, and the colorful lights came on around us, the patio umbrellas lit up.
But on to the food! First, I should tell you that Cha Cha’s has a full bar.
And our waiter insisted on showing us a few of their amazing drinks and cocktails.
Their signature drink is the Margarona, on the left – a margarita with a Coronita upside down in it.
As in many places, they brought us out chips, salsa and cheese sauce, which was very good.
Always one to ask for extra types of salsa, they brought me this one.
Doesn’t that sucker just look ferociously hot? And it was…if you love heat in salsa, this is for you.
We started out with one of my favorite things of the night – an appetizer called Enchilada Dip.
This was a blend of green chile queso, shredded chicken, and Jack cheese topped with sliced avocados and was served with tortilla chips. The chicken was the consistency of slow-cooked pulled pork and was full of flavor and delicious. The large chunks of sliced avocados were also a big plus with me.
I opted for the Spicy Shrimp Tacos. These were flour tortillas filled with blackened shrimp, sauteed onions, sauteed jalapeños and were topped with chipotle crema. As usual, we all sampled each other’s food and decided these were fantastic. They were spicey, but not uncomfortably so, and really flavorful and juicy.
We were also serve Pollo Monterey.
This dish was a fajita-style chicken breast served on a bed of grilled vegetables (onion, zucchini and poblanos) topped with green-chile sauce and Jack cheese. This chicken has been marinated in loveliness for 72 hours, yes I said 72! It was moist, flavorful and yummy goodness on a plate.
It was accompanied by the Roasted Potatoes, the most delicious spiced and crispy potatoes, and some refried beans. I always appreciate when you can have a side other than rice and beans at a Mexican place. It’s a big plus.
Our waiter now served us the Pork Guiso.
This was tender chunks of pork that had been slow simmered in a really wonderful green chile sauce and it was also served with the roasted potatoes, boracho beans, and sat atop a bed of grilled onions and peppers. Also a plus? Cha Cha’s uses poblano peppers mostly instead of green peppers which just makes me happy.
This alone had us stuffed-to-the-brim but we were brought one more platter. I really loved this option on the menu – the Build Your Own Combo menu.
This included our choice of three tacos, more of those crispy potatoes, and beans. We chose one Street Taco, one of the Tilapia Tropicana Tacos (gblackened) and one of the Fish Tacos (fried). All three were fabulous but being a fish taco fan, I really, really loved the both of those. As with every other dish, we tried, these were all loaded with flavor and delicious.
This was such a small sampling of Cha Cha’s menu. They also have a good selection of vegetarian options like Grilled Vegetable Quesadillas, the Grilled Veggie Salad, and Veggie or Black Bean Enchiladas.
Also of note, on Tuesdays, Cha Cha’s has their TNT Taco Tuesdays, where all of their tacos are $2 as well as $2 Tecate’s from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
If you’re in going to be in the Norman area soon, are a Sooner fan, or just plain want to eat at a good Mexican place, I highly recommend Cha Cha’s Grille Y Cantina.