Monday, April 25, 2011

A Chain... you ask?

My original plan for this blog was to write weekly, but my busy life prevents this.  So I’ve lowered the ambition of a once a week critique to writing as often as I can.  

At first I decided to avoid chain restaurants but on second thought, remembered what an important role they play in American society.  As a rule franchised restaurants are more family oriented than others, the meals are familiar, consistently prepared dishes, the “wait” is shorter and are easier on the wallet.

As soon as we entered Bahaman Breeze on Haynes Bridge Rd, two friendly hostesses greeted us, we took our pager and headed to the packed bar.   
The eager barkeep described seasonal specials and recommended some of the drinks.  We settled on a ginger Mojito  (The fresh ginger was a refreshing surprise.) and a "Pain-Killer.”  The drinks tasted amazing, and we enjoyed them and the live Island Music for 10 minutes until our pager alerted us that our table was ready.

The hostess led us to our table in a dimly lit dining room adjacent to the bar; the seating area, though crowded, was adequate.  

As an appetizer we decided to split their  “Famous Coconut Shrimp.”  In a short time we were served piping hot, perfectly browned, crisp, coconut covered shrimp and a tropical honey mustard dipping sauce, garnished with a fresh pineapple slice. YUM

The entrees arrived quickly on hot plates and filled with hot food (requirements in my restaurant).  The fish was absolutely perfectly seasoned and cooked: moist and flaky meat with a crisp coating! Our huge portions of sweet potatoes, with a dash of cinnamon were delicious.  The haricot verts  were obviously blanched and shocked (a chef's must) prior to service and at the last moment sautéed with the utmost care to retain the bright green color and perfect al dente bite.  
I left Bahama Breeze fat and happy...and a little tipsy because I just had to try the Mojito one more time during dinner.  As a chef I usually don’t expect such a good experience from chain restaurants, so I must tuck my cape between my legs, and admit that some chain restaurants can be appreciated even by the pickiest of chefs. 
Until next time...  I must pocket my whisk