Cracked Conch Coma
So this is me, or what’s left of me, after a marathon eating session at The Cracked Conch
Our story begins in West Bay. The Cracked Conch is the upscale, upstairs counterpart to sea side bar Macabuca where I spend a few nights a week either chomping down on their drool-worthy fish n’chips or salsa dancing my bunky off. When I was invited for chance to experience the Cracked Conch’s tasting menu, I couldn’t get a table reserved quick enough. Once there, we were taken to lovely table on the second floor deck where we could catch the breeze while we took in seven courses of fabulous.
The first dish of the evening was honey jerk (a type of barbecue) glazed tuna tartar with local peppers and cucumber relish. As I took the first bite, I knew we were in for an incredible evening. The tuna was delicious and the little bits of tempura were an exciting surprise. The cucumber relish was a tangy karate chop to the mouth that blended perfectly with the laid back tuna.
Up next was conch ceviche with tomatoes, red onions, avocado, lime juice, cucumber water and cilantro (this is Clark Kent’s favorite). It was another slam dunk for the Cracked Conch. The flavors were light and refreshing and despite knowing there were 5 courses yet to go, I found myself wishing my portion had been just a touch bigger. Yum.
Before you ask, they did not forget to rinse the dish 😉 That frothy stuff on top is parmesan foam! Underneath is a sensational show-stopping short rib ravioli with truffles. The truffles gave the ravioli a unique, earthy flavor that left me using every ounce of willpower to not lick the plate clean.
Seared diver scallops were the feature of the evening’s fourth course. Will you believe me when I say this is the first time I’d ever eaten scallops? As I mentioned before, I’ve got a ‘sensitive palate’ (see Mrs Mootz comments in Stylish Sushi…Say That 3 Times Fast)and scallops have always scared me. But with such a generous invitation to the tasting menu, I thought I’d better just suck it up and give the scallops a go. Success! They were served with pumpkin puree, micro watercress, crispy capers, poached chayote and vanilla brown butter.
As we headed down the menu, we came face to face with a rather unassuming cup of bouillabaisse. It was one of those “sneak attack” dishes that end up blowing your mind. That tiny cup was packed with Mahi-Mahi, snapper, shrimp, lobster and vegetable spaghetti in a tomato saffron broth.
After two hours of eating and a bottle of Barolo, I’m not gonna lie…I started to realize just how much food is in seven ‘tasting menu’ courses. But my spirits were lifted and I found some extra room in my hollow left leg for the sixth course: prime beef tenderloin with pan seared foie gras, garlic potatoes, cream of bacon and sauteed mushrooms. I’m very much a carnivore and with all the fish on the menu, this is the one I was waiting for. It was worth it.
After bringing out my tea and Clark Kent’s coffee, our server tried to commit homicide by dessert (see above). She should be punished. The platter featured frozen key lime pie with papaya chutney, bread pudding with a guava sauce, a pineapple tart in caramel sauce, guava ice cream and – my favorite flavor of the night hands down – poppy flower with beet root ice cream. Delicious. All of it. Oh my god.
Tasting Menu (per person): $60.00
All prices in CI