On Wednesday, Cinco de Mayo, I joined a couple of buds for dinner at Bahama Breeze in Robinson. Brianna, Jay, and I met up with Eric, a great friend from dear old Bethany College. It had been months since we had seen him, and we were all excited to catch up.
I arrived first and made myself comfortable at the bar. The bartender was friendly and right away I was groovin’ on the laidback Caribbean vibe. I drank a Corona (for mis amigos). The evening was off to a great start!
Of course, my pals knew right where to find me. We met up at the bar and then went to a table outside on the porch. A man played light rock hits on a steel drum in the corner, as we perused the drink menu. Three of us stuck with Coronas, while Brianna livened things up with a Mango Mojito. She loved it, and I gotta admit: I had drink envy! The evening setting was perfect for some lighthearted conversation and drinks with friends.
Right about this time, our waitress began pressuring us to put our orders in. Now, I do understand about timing and efficiency in restaurants. It’s a science, no doubt. There is a way to achieve your goals as a server without being pushy or rude. Unfortunately, our waitress wasn’t very good at it. Although we didn’t seem to be taking an excessive amount of time to make our dinner selections, apparently we weren’t fast enough for her. She came across as annoyed and condescending. At first, she wouldn’t leave us alone, and then she was nowhere to be found. As far as service goes, it wasn’t great. Still, we were enveloped in our transplanted “Bethany Bubble”, so we didn’t mind…too much.
I was lucky enough to travel to Jamaica last spring, so I did have an idea of what to expect from Caribbean cuisine. As I looked over the menu, I was surprised by the lack of exotic dishes. Sadly, the Bahama Breeze menu seemed to be just another Americanized version of what it could have been.
We started with the Firecracker Shrimp and the Spinach Dip with Island Chips. The Firecracker Shrimp are small shrimp, breaded and fried and served with a zesty red pepper sauce. I enjoyed those crunchy crustaceans, though I didn’t care much for the run-of-the-mill spinach dip.
I ordered the Salmon Tostada, and I was pleased when the dish was delivered. The vibrant colors of the fish and the vegetables made this dish look very appetizing!
Everyone’s dinners looked pretty good, but mine was the most festive and seemingly the most Caribbean. It was a good sized salad, and the vegetables looked crispy and fresh. I was turned off by the thick layer of cilantro topping on my fish; had the menu said anything about cilantro? (No.) My slightly overcooked fish was fine, but forgettable. My friends were equally ambivalent about their dinners, as well. The boys enjoyed their Salmon filets with potatoes and vegetables, and Brianna said her Chicken and Vegetable Quesadilla was fine. None of the dishes were particularly Caribbean.
You know that song, “Hot! Hot! Hot!”? I’d rate Bahama Breeze a solid “warm…warm…warm.” The only reason to go to Bahama Breeze is the fun, beachy atmosphere. I would go back to this restaurant, just to sit on the deck and enjoy an appetizer and a fruity drink. Sadly, if you’re looking to get a taste of the Caribbean, this food is far from it.