We got a Restaurant.com $25 certificate for this place, and it stated that we needed to spend at least $50 to use the $25 certificate. Fine. So, for two of us, we got three dinners and two smoothies–way more than $50 worth of food. On hindsight, the Restaurant.com gift certificate was a horrible idea and I’ll never buy any of those again.
Anyway, we were the only non-Haitian people there, and there were a fair amount of stares. It was not a friendly atmosphere at all, and with the dim lighting, strange tables with fake flowers and laminate tabletops, it was a very strange dining experience, and did not feel like a $15-$20 a plate type of place. The server that seated us disappeared for a long time. When it was time to take orders, another server came, and he was friendly and helped us with a lot of menu decisions, seeing that we’ve both never had Haitian food before.
We got two salads. They came with the mains, so we wondered what happened to the third salad (we ordered 3 mains). Anyway, these came out with Costco sized Heinz Thousand Island and Italian salad dressings, which was really kinda off-putting. Obviously, the salad was nothing special. The dressings did not help. Seriously, how hard is it to make house dressing or put the standard dressings in a more presentable container? Sorry for the awful picture. The lighting in the space was abysmal.
Fried Chicken Dinner – $16: I don’t understand the raw onions just on the plate. It may be a Haitian food thing, but I just didn’t know how to eat it. I don’t eat raw white onion rings; They just don’t seem like food, especially when it’s just sitting on the food. This plate also came with a coleslaw-like thing on the side. It didn’t look it, but it was SOOOOO spicy that it was inedible. There were three fried chicken drumsticks on the plate. They were cooked right, but there was little to no flavor in them. The plantain chips were also completely tasteless; They were made with unripe plantains, so there was no sweetness at all. I was really really disappointed with this plate. For $16 for 3 fried drumsticks, I wanted them to be really really good, but unfortunately, I think KFC tastes better.
Fried Pork Dinner – $15: Same issues with the onions, ‘coleslaw’ and plantain chips as above. The pork pieces were deep fried and had no flavor or seasoning at all. They were mostly overcooked and extremely dry. I wouldn’t even feed this to my dog. The only edible bits of pork were the bits that still had fat on it. Very disappointing.
Fried Fish Dinner – $17: Same issues with the raw onions and plantains as above. The fish was way way overcooked. It was actually really hard. The sauce over the fish was quite tasty though. It was a little tangy, a little sweet and a little spicy. It reminded me of assam (tamarind)! The sauce also saved the other two dishes (chicken and pork) because we kept dipping the chicken or pork into this sauce.
Meals also came with a heaping pile of rice of your choosing. We picked one of each of all the options, just to have a tasting.
White Rice with Black Bean Sauce: The rice was perfectly cooked. Good rice! People (around us) raved about the black bean sauce, but to me, it was just really watered down pureed black beans.
Black Rice: This was rice mixed with some seasonings (don’t know exactly what they were) and had mashed black beans in them. They were good and probably my favorite out of the three rice offerings.
Rice with Beans: Similar to the black rice, but the beans were red beans (maybe pinto?) and were whole instead of mashed.
Mango Smoothie – $4: Yummiest smoothie I’ve ever had. Made from real mango, and the portions are so generous! Probably saved the meal and the night.
Strawberry Smoothie – $4: As above. I preferred the strawberry one. J preferred the mango one. Haha!
Our total kill for this meal for the both of us was more than $70. I don’t know how things added up to that number (ridiculous number considering the menu prices including tax were $59.50) because the receipt was a hand written piece of paper with just a total, tax, and final amount. This was definitely a meal that was way too expensive for what it was. Awful (mostly) food, the most unappetizing setting = not a $80+ ($70+ if you think of the savings with the Restaurant.com coupon) meal experience (for two), definitely. Maybe, just maybe, we got the gringo price and the gringo food, but I won’t be caught back here ever. Nope. Ok, fine. Maybe for a smoothie.
Highland Creole Cuisine
Address: 2 Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02143
Telephone: (617) 625-8333
Price Range: $$$ ($20 to $30 per person)