Lee and I tried Cha Cha's Cantina, a more upmarket Mexican restaurant in Shockoe Slip along East Cary Street. The weather was uncommonly nice for early July, so we elected to eat on the well-appointed patio complete with Christmas lights and an old army Jeep. The inside of the restaurant is reminiscent of a typical Mexican cantina. There are live bands late at night and the cantina stays open until 2 am. We had a phenomenally good waitress. Those who are merely prompt with the food are adequate, but those who have personality are superiour. Besides having a great personality, she was prompt with our food and attentive with Lee's sweet tea and my water.
Favorite Dish: For the location and the prices for Southwestern and Mexican food, I reasonably expected Cha Cha's to surpass Northside's La Casita in terms of quality. However, good location and higher prices don't always meet expectations. The complimentary tortilla chips (red, white, and blue for the 4th of July, no doubt) were rather salty, but the salsa was fine. For my entree, I had the Southwestern grilled chicken served over black beans and Mexican rice, topped with pico de gallo, shredded cheese and salsa verde. The chicken was rather dry and the Monterey Jack cheese topping drowned out the flavour of any of the chicken's spices. The rice was rather bland. It needed the help of a few drops of chipotle Tabasco sauce to make the flavour come to life. The one area where Cha Cha's exceeds La Casita is the fact that they serve perfectly seasoned black beans as opposed to bland refried beans. The portions were adequate. That is, I didn't leave the restaurant hungry, but I was hungry by bedtime. The food wasn't what I expected, but the atmosphere and the service brought its overall rating to "better than average."
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