The "Jade Cuisine" created by James Beard award winner, Chef Allen Susser, is a brave new world of tropical flavors that is exotic and delicious, with a history of fusion at its fabric. Dining in St. Lucia is taken to new heights, in many ways, but first you have to get there...
Knowing that Jade Mountain was somewhat of an exclusive and high end place, we arranged reservations and transportation through our resort a day in advance. After two failed attempts, we finally were able to get a reservation for 8:30pm on Saturday (the other day/time choices were already booked). We were told the drive was about 25 minutes "up the mountain" so I anticipated a bit of a trek. I was not prepared for what actually occurred. To sum up, we basically were in the back of an old Toyota van and rode in pitch black up and down a single lane unmarked pathway (no signs, no lights, barely any pavement to speak of) through the mountains. Here is a snapshot I took to document the experience "in case we never made it back":
Not only do they drive on the opposite side of the road as we do in America, the ride was super bumpy and treacherous at times. It was so dark, it felt as though we had blindfolds on and were being taken ransom. Only the light from the van's high beams lead us. At one point Keith nervously asked the driver if this was a shortcut. The friendly driver simply chuckled and said no. Within 15 minutes (though it seemed much longer) we arrived at the bottom of the Anse Chastanet Resort. From there, we were told to wait for a "shuttle" to take us further up Jade Mountain to the restaurant. Soon enough a young man dressed in a hotel porter's uniform arrived in a Jeep and told us he would drive us up the rest of the way. This road was also narrow and windy, but at least had lights along the way as it was a part of the resort. We climbed up and were told to exit the vehicle at the foot of a staircase. "Is this it?", Keith asks. "I will escort you up.", was the reply as the young man lead us up the stairs and the crazy bridge ways to the modern architecture building that is Jade Mountain.
|Bridge way entrance to the restaurant.|
Image via William Beem
For my first course, I chose the Vegetable Crepe with goat cheese and roasted squash. The presentation was colorful and the dish overall was perfect for vegetarians. Keith ordered the Free Range Chicken Soba Noodle Soup. It was different than he expected, which was more of the traditional soba noodle, but these were small. The consistency was like pea soup with noodles and shredded chicken. Next, I ate the simple Vegetable Salad with shaved beets, carrots, and finished with a pesto vinaigrette. It was fresh and seasonal. Keith ate the Creamy Potato Salad with rainbow beets. His salad was creamy with good tang to it. He was impressed by the perfectly cut cubes of potato and the rainbow beets that were sliced very, which added to the presentation.
For my main course, I ate the Dorado with coconut pineapple and lime. This was such a delightful dish with tropical combinations that worked so well together. The sauce was not overly sweet and the fish was substantial. This was the star of the menu and my favorite dish in St. Lucia. Keith enjoyed the Red Snapper with Black Forbidden Rice and Greens. The crust on the snapper was amazing, with aggressive seasoning that complimented the meaty fish. The rice and greens balanced the aggressive seasoning to make the whole plate tasty.
Lastly, for dessert we shared Chocolate Cake and Tiramisu with mint whip cream and watermelon caviar, and mixed berries. When we arrived the waitstaff asked if we were celebrating anything. Keith said, "No, not really. Just on vacation." At the same time I said, "Just being married." I guess they took my response as meaning maybe we were newlyweds, since St. Lucia is a popular honeymoon destination, and assumed we were on our honeymoon too. So we got the standard "honeymooners" dessert. Instead of trying to correct them, or send the dessert back, we just laughed it off, and appreciated the gesture.
The service and food during the whole night was deserving of five stars. The staff at Jade Mountain really made the night special. The 4 course prix fixe menu was elegant and worthy of the James Beard award. Not only was the food impeccable, but the atmosphere of the location itself coupled with the adventure to get there (and back to our resort), made this night a truly memorable one. If you are visiting St. Lucia, I highly recommend to set one night aside to experience Jade Mountain.
Total Rating: 4.53
Food: 5, Price: 3.5, Service: 5, Ambience: 5, Accessibility: 1.5
What I ate:
with goat cheese, roasted squash
with beets, carrots, pesto vinaigrette
with coconut pineapple and lime
Chocolate Cake and Tiramisu
with mint whip cream and watermelon caviar, and mixed berries
Plus Keith ate:
Free Range Chicken Soba Noodle Soup
Creamy Potato Salad
with rainbow beets
with rainbow beets
with Black Forbidden Rice and Greens