Monday, February 15, 2010

St Barts report

We spent a very relaxing and pleasant 10 days in St Barts, following our usual pattern. While there, we ate in a number of places, many familiar and a couple new to us. Here's a capsule report:

Esprit de Saline: One of our favorites as always. Beautiful outdoor (but covered) setting. The nasty smell from the salt pond which greets you as you exit the car does not penetrate to the dining room. Delicious, relatively simple food. As usual on St Barts, not cheap.

Bonito: This is a new place that took over the space of the old Mandala on the hill overlooking Gustavia Harbor. Beautiful white and blue space with some tables having a great view. We liked it so much that we went back for Valentine's Day with a couple of new friends. On the first visit I had scallops, which were good but not memorable, and Michael had the slow-cooked "cochon de lait" which was so good that I ordered it the second visit (outstanding both times). The restaurant specializes in ceviche which we had as appetizers and enjoyed very much.

Wall House: Another old standby. We had a very disappointing visit last year and this year's was considerably better. Service was still slow, although not as slow as last year (that was intolerable). Because of its position in the harbor it does not get much breeze and was very warm. I'd say, good but not great. Not at the top of our list.

Santa Fe: We ate here the last night. Very informal and quite small...about 8 tables on a terrace with a view of the ocean during the day (and blackness at night). Maybe the best food in St Barts. Very pleasant and friendly service.

Do Brazil: We had a post-scuba lunch here. Beautiful setting and delicious drinks including perhaps the best daiquiri I've ever had. Very expensive...over 100 euros for 2 drinks, a shared seafood salad appetizer and two hamburgers. Burgers were overcooked and dry although the fries were good. Nice setting, but better for drinks than food, I think.

Bouchon: A tiny stand by one of the local strip shopping centers in Lorient. One day we got pre-diving sandwiches which were an amazing value...4 euros for a ham and cheese sandwich occupying almost an entire baguette, 6.50 for grilled chicken! One would have been plenty for the two of parents ended up having lunch on the leftovers. Another day we went for a hamburger and pizza which were both very good although preparation was quite slow (I think our timing was bad). Maybe the best value in St Barts, although that's not saying much.

Wine: We paid a sentimental visit to La Cave. It has been taken over by the grandson of the founders, who is a very nice young man. We hope he succeeds. He is hampered by old inventory...most of the wine is, I think, well past its prime. We had a bottle of 04 Sancerre that was excellent and a bottle of NV Champagne from an unrecognized producer that was also very nice, if a bit austere. He is trying to update his inventory and I hope he succeeds as it would be a shame for this landmark to fail, although I sense he is struggling at the moment.

We had better luck at La Cave au Port Franc on the edge of town, where the charming owner (with very limited English) has a very nice and very well priced selection of wine, including enough Alsatian wines to keep us happy...we had a very dry Muscat as an aperitif with visitors and a bottle of Gewurz that Michael and I loved although it was not a hit with Mom and Dad.

No comments: