Blue by Eric Ripert
If you told me ten years ago that I'd spend a few hundred dollars on a dinner for two, I would have told you you that you're losing your mind. But I did exactly that while we were in the Cayman Islands as a treat for the both of us. Well, mostly for me, but The Husband enjoyed the meal as well.
As much as I'd like to say this was an item on my bucket list, it's not, although "having a meal at a really really nice restaurant owned by a chef of whom I'm a fan" is on a wish list of sorts. The odds of me going to NY to dine at Le Bernadin are pretty slim so when I realized Eric Ripert had a restaurant where we were going, I had to make a reservation. Plus, it'd be something nice for The Husband and I to do on our anniversary trip and it'd be my treat since he was so sweet to take me on this awesome holiday!
Blue by Eric Ripert is in the Ritz Carlton in Grand Cayman which was 2 resorts down from where we were. We got about as dressed up as "resort chic" could get and strolled over for our 7:30 dinner reservation. After getting seated in a romantic little corner, we were walked through our options.
They offer a 3-course a la carte prix fixe, a seven and a nine-course tasting. We opted for the seven-course at $128CI/person ($228CI with wine pairing which we skipped) which, to me, seemed like a really fair price. They have a master somelier on hand for you wine lovers so I'm sure the wine pairing experience would have also been top notch. I loved how attentive and friendly the staff were and they get top marks for customer service. I also liked that we didn't have to tell them in advance which tasting we wanted to do and because the prices aren't posted anywhere except on their printed menu, it's nice that they don't make you decide till you're there.
To start, they brought us an amuse bouche of lobster with guacamole and pureed potato. This little morsel revved our appetites and I knew I was going to have to REALLY hold myself back from inhaling every course after. "Chew and taste" was the mantra of the evening. Here's what we had:
The actual tasting began with Blue's signature Tuna Carpaccio. I cut off a little slice and oh my word my tastebuds were in heaven! The silky, slightly tart and VERY fresh tuna and the buttery foie gras (which made me realize I've been eating crappy foie gras all these years) tasted so good together and I loved how the bread added a slight crispiness to each bite. We were off to a good start.
The flavors in each 3 1/2oz course never got too heavy or clashed with the next and I did a pretty good job of enjoying and savoring. I will admit, I did want to lick my plate clean each time because everything, right down to the sauce, tasted wonderful. But there's only so much scraping you can do in a nice restaurant before you call attention to yourself. But oh, if we were the only people there....
Top left is the swordfish, which some of you may have seen me post on Instagram - it's rubbed with bacon before grilling and that simple step made such a difference to how it tasted. On top of the snapper (locally caught) is a layer of bread in place of skin. I have no qualms eating the skin on fish but for presentation sake, the bread was a nice touch and you still had good texture to go with the tender fish.
The first dessert course, bottom left, was nice and tart. That red sphere you see is a cherry pearl that we were told we had to pop in our mouths whole. It was so fun to eat.
Oh, and can I just brag (even more) for a moment? The Husband is the best husband ever. He understands that I like to photograph my food. Now, I would NEVER use flash photography and if it's too dim, so be it, people can picture the food I ate because it's food, not some piece of art no one's ever seen. However, it was The Husband who suggested I place my plate under the one spot of light we had at our table that was about a foot to my left to snap a quick pic. So as stealthily as I could, as soon as our waiter walked away, I moved my plate, tapped my phone, and pulled it back in to start eating. If not for his suggestion, well, you guys would have had to work a little harder to imagine the awesome food I ate. OK! Back to the restaurant:
So, when I called to make my reservation, the girl on the phone asked if it was a special occasion and I told her it was our anniversary. By the time we were there, I'd forgotten all about that so it was such a pleasant surprise when we saw this on our dessert.
How sweet is that?? And it was delicious to boot. The Husband isn't usually one for sweets but he loved both desserts since neither was overly sweet. Definitely a great end to our meal. We weren't in a hurry to leave, plus I wanted to just revel in the moment so we ordered coffee which they brought with a few sweet bites.
We left feeling full, completely satisfied and happy we were able to experience this. As a souvenir, they gave us chocolate macarons to take home. I would go back in a heartbeat and I can't recommend this enough if you're ever on holiday in the area. I am such a lucky girl, I am so so happy I got to do this with The Husband who has been extremely accommodating to my chef-fan-girliness over the past several years. Needless to say, Eric Ripert's Cayman Cookout has been added to my bucket list, and I hope I make it there before they ever decide to stop having that event!