Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Caribbean cuisine: St. Thomas' GLADYS CAFE loses its star

As you know we are now at sea for ten days and tend to eat most of our meals (which are pretty good) on board the MS NOORDAM. Every now and then we venture to eat ashore and chose to do so on our first day ashore last week in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. I have been there several times and there is indeed some fine dining, but mostly at night or out of town at the hotels. We chose GLADYS' CAFE which has been a stalwart locale in the Royal Dane Mall smack in the middle of town and has consistently received high ratings including an "our favorite" star from Fodor's Travel Guides. Well, based on our visit, they lost the star.

We are used to the laid back service in the islands, but came in parched from the heat and begged for water, which did not come for almost ten minutes. It seems that only the waitress can bring water; the lady who clears the table can do only that and point to the waitress when you ask for something!

The food has lots to be desired as well. Samuel's HAMBURGER was on the verge of well done shoe leather (we asked for it not past medium), Will's CARIBBEAN LOBSTER SALAD SANDWICH was about as mayonnaise-intense as it gets and hardly chock full of meat. My GOAT CURRY was well-prepared and tasty with lots of nice sides like beans and rice, plantains, etc., but the goat tended to be sinewy and was on the bone; bone which made up most of the platter. Thank goodness for the sides and tasty sauce,

After waiting for what seemed a decade, our waitress finally brought the check and we just hied out as quick as we could. The ambiance at Gladys is mostly tourists with some locals at the rowdy bar; the decor is unmemorable and the bathroom is a public one outside down the street, which one would think would have been cleaner as there was a woman sitting there collecting tips but clearly not wiping any surface in need of it. Enough said. ZERO STARS.