Tuesday, August 12, 2014

take me to the TURKS & CAICOS and bring me to the BEACH HOUSE Restaurant (8-11-14)

We arrived here yesterday for an extended stay and will have the opportunity to offer you many (what we hope to be) wonderful and informative dining reviews.

Our first hotel to stay at is The BEACH HOUSE, so we decided to stay "at home" on our first night and dine in the open courtyard (http://www.beachhousetci.com/beach-house-one-popular-turks-and-caicos-restaurants) located on the island of Providenciales (or Provo) where we will be for 10 days.

The setting was relaxing and despite numerous large groups dining around us, the noise never was imposing. When you arrive here you know you are not in the Caribbean that you might be more familiar with. It's not elitist and pricey and hilly like St. Barths, nor crowded and obnoxious like so many other islands. It is laid back, flat, sunny and refreshing, with warm friendly natives who always smile and are happy to serve you right away. This is not the island of manana or "don't worry, be happy).

At any rate our server Jacques explained that his family had moved here from Haiti several generations ago, hence his French name and he had an infectious smile that never stopped. He brought out some crostini with olive tapenade and cherry tomato halves and then we decided on a bottle of French wine (because he was Haitian!) and adored the creamy full bodied Saint Veran 2011 Chateau Fuisse that was big enough to handle some of the spice in our starters.

Crunchy bread and French bread arrived with balsamic and olive oil to dip in.

I did note that as the sun set, the lighting got so bad I could barely read the menu. Many folks seemed to use their smart phones to read the menu!

Ultimately, the lights turned up and we could see what we were eating and ordering!

A refreshing amuse of tomato gazpacho arrived and we were off, although Samuel did not like that at all.

Instead he started with the Roasted PUMPKIN SOUP with Garlic Parmesan Crouton, Truffle Essence, Pesto Oil, a dash of sour cream and chili paste and gobbled it up so fast; we were just getting started on ours.

Will & I split two appetizers, a MIXTO CEBICHE with Grouper, Scallops, Shrimp, Conch, Coconut Milk, Cilantro & Lime. Will complained that there was more "other stuff" than fish and indeed there were large white beans, sweet potato and crunchy puffed rice, which I liked. It had a punch from the chilis and was very refreshing, but wins no awards. The award winner was the X-Rated CONCH mad up of four items:

Conch Salad which was the least exciting

Conch Fritters on a remoulade with greens which were awesome

Curried Conch on Stir Fried Rice which came in a small basket like steamer making it hard to get the rice from the bottom where it was stuck in the weave of the basket (it must have been made from palm leaves or such). The curry was not strong and very different from those we know at home from Asia.

The winner for me was the Conch Chowder, although the entire dish was excellent.

We moved on to a bottle of Chablis "Les Venerables" 2010 La Chablisienne which was perfect with both main courses we split as they were both very rich.

Samuel chose the Sliders from the kids menu which were two mini-burgers with melted cheese (Will swore it was Velveeta) and some steak fries. He did not care for the dish so only the fries and one half of a slider were consumed. The meat indeed was a bit past medium, way overcooked for our tastes.

Will and I chose the hand-picked Blue CRAB & Local SNAPPER RAVIOLI which were served in an oh so rich Yuzu-Fever Grass Reduction and according to the menu, crispy root vegetables. The vegetables were actually fried carrots on top that were like fried onions and tasted wonderful and gave the dish a nice crunchy topping. In the sauce was cauliflower and greens, but these were not crispy as they were in the rich cream sauce. The dish was very filling, but some of the ravioli could have used a bit more filling.

The Pan Fried local GROUPER was amazing in a fennel foam with capers  and also a rich cream sauce with a vegetable gratin that was like a vegetable latke but seemed to have no cheese (gratin?) and lacked seasoning. We mentioned this to Jacques and he was grateful and said it would be passed on to the chef who was fairly new and from Chile and was reworking the menu for the fall grand re-opening  prior to the winter season.

The desserts all sounded very nice but Sam had his heart set on the MOLTEN Chocolate Cake with Griotine Cherries, Pomelo Confit, Cocoa Nibs and Vanilla Ice Cream which the three of us split; it was a big winner and we all agreed a very well prepared gooey melting delight. The perfect end to our first night here.