One could call this “Dining Out” or “Reviews” but essentially, what it boils down to is: “Someone else, please cook for me.” So there you go. Don’t get me wrong. I like cooking. I love it. Sometimes I’ll go out to eat, and assess if I can make a dish at home better and for significantly less money. Usually I can, but I do enjoy the social aspect of dining out: either I’m dishing with the girls or going on a date and it really is a nice treat when someone else cooks for a change. So in the words of Iman in Michael Jackson’s video, Remember the Time, “I want to be entertained.” Yes, I just quoted a Michael Jackson video. Go ahead and judge me.
Let’s chat about Nevis. I specifically picked Nevis as holiday destination for both its exclusivity and low-key vibe. That, and neighboring St. Kitts has a crazy Christmas Carnival. I also find it hilarious when people don’t know where the hell you are going. Friends made faces and said, “NEEEEEEVIS? What is NEEEEEVIS? I don’t even know where that is. How do you spell it? Isn’t that a skin condition?” Nevis is smaller and not as touristy as other Caribbean islands. I generally don’t prefer popular honeymoon destinations nor cruise ship docks with heavy traffic when I holiday. We’ll talk about what island citizens think of cruisers at some point when I discuss Bermuda. Nevis has a fancy Four Seasons with a well-known golf course and St. Kitts is just a 45-minute ferry-boat ride away. I actually flew into St. Kitts and stayed there before boating over to Nevis. While the islands are in proximity to one another, each definitely has a different vibe.
I should make note that I try to avoid all-inclusive situations that keep me tied to a resort the whole time. I like to get out and explore the destination and try the local fare. While my resort had a meal-plan option for those interested, I chose to purchase my meals as needed. I came to Nevis with the intention of trying Miss June’s Cuisine. Miss June hosts a dinner party out of the Jones Estate that consists of several courses, cocktails and fun storytelling. Since Oprah had been there I was dying to try it. Unfortunately, Miss June wasn’t open for one of her dinners until the day I was leaving and one certain “Ginger Firecrotch” couldn’t get me in to meet her so I won’t be able to discuss this venue. However, my adventures in dining were still enjoyable and I’m going to cover a few places you too can enjoy if you ever get to visit “NEEEEEEVIS.”
Coconut Grove, a beachfront restaurant and wine lounge, is located on the northwest side of the island and has earned reputation as “The Top Hot Table in the World” from Conde Nast (Traveler). It has also received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence three years in a row. Sign me up for that. That’s right. I don’t eff around, people. I decided to walk to the restaurant. The Nevisians call tourists who do that “spontaneous” or “adventurous.” Right. I just call myself crazy. The owner, Gary Colt, is a master sommelier who was born in Rochester, NY, then lived in Scarsdale, NY, until the age of nine, and at that point the entire clan moved to the south of France. You will detect a slight French accent when you speak with him. In addition to being very personable and offering tours of his prized wine cellar, he’s very easy on the eyes. He’s also married and has a child, so don’t get too excited. The menu consists of relatively healthy, French cuisine with an island flair, created by chef, Stephen Smith, a Registered Dietitian and vegan. Smith apparently lost quite a bit of weight converting to a vegan lifestyle and incorporates delicious vegan offerings on the menu, including a black bean brownie, which is apparently, to die for.
I tried the vegan soup of the day right after downing two glasses of wine and a baked baby Camembert. It was conceivably one of the most delicious soups I have ever enjoyed and featured dark leafy greens (I believe it was a combination of spinach and kale), other mixed vegetables, and I detected a spicy, slightly curried undertone but I could be mistaken. I then moved on to another glass of wine and the catch of the day seasoned with what else? My favorite – Herbes de Provence. Everything was going well at Coconut Grove until a storm hit, the power went out and some annoying New York City dwellers were seated behind me, trying to talk art and politics. The power situation was remedied quickly and I was able to flee from the NYC chatty weirdos. Do I recommend? For a food and wine lover, absolutely. Is it expensive? Yes, you will find most dining establishments in Nevis are pricey and this is on the higher end of that scale. However, the restaurant itself is gorgeous – it looks like a high-end, contemporary, South Pacific beach hut and they had some beautiful, festive decorations out at the time. You will not be disappointed with the food, the wine list, or the personalized touch. Gary and his wife, Karin, make a point of chatting with all the dinner guests and it’s really a very friendly and fun atmosphere. You can take a look at pictures on their website here: www.coconutgroverestaurantnevis.com. They also have a beach club and a boutique. I do wish that I had tried the lamb special since I ate fish practically the entire time I was on Nevis, but that is my own issue. If you decide to go, please do wear bug spray – the mosquitoes are particularly hungry on Nevis but even more so in that location.