Dining at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman is always a luxurious experience, not just for the marvellous food but being in a large hotel makes for a completely different ambience. 7 Prime Cuts and Sunsets restaurant puts one in mind of grand old hotels in Europe; something to do with the spaciousness, the high ceilings, the dark elegance of the furniture. The view however through the long picture windows is anything but European with palm trees silhouetted against yet another perfect Caribbean sunset.
My companion and I were there to sample the Prime to Sublime menu that features the cut of the day, salad or soup and a choice of one side dish from the regular menu, at no additional cost. We went on a Thursday when the cut was an 8oz Prime Skirt Steak but you can choose the day of the week you want to go depending on what particular cut you want. On Friday there is the added bonus that gives 50
per cent off the entire wine menu. For starters there was a choice of soup or salad. I went for fresh Costa Rican heart of palm and tomatoes with smoked paprika vinaigrette. My companion had baby arugla and goat’s cheese marinated peppers, grapes and balsamic reduction. The heart of palm was served warm and had a refreshing crunchiness that contrasted well with the cold, soft texture of the tomatoes while the paprika gave the dish some bite. At the beginning of the meal sommelier, Hailey Wagner came over to discuss wine choices, recommending red wines to accompany the steak. Red wine goes well with meat as the taste of the wine and the taste of the meat are enhanced when the tannins in the wine interact with certain foods rich in protein such as meat. The tannins bind to the proteins so adding to the effect on your mouth. Hailey is working towards being a master sommelier and says that every year she takes a holiday in a different wine region to learn first hand about the wines. She recommended a Spanish wine, Viña Sastre, “Roble”, Ribera del Duero, Spain 2009 (Tempranillo) and a French, Clos Dubreuil, “Anna”, Saint Emilion, Bordeaux, France 2008 (Merlot). Having tasted them both we went for the Spanish wine because it had a lighter, fresher taste whereas the Merlot though splendid, was richer and more complex.
Wine chosen, it was time for that piece of steak, a treat for me as I do not often eat red meat. It did not disappoint. Cooked to medium rare perfection it was full of succulence, tenderness and taste, so much so that it really felt like a complete meal in itself, but we still had the sauces and side dishes. We had a choice of four sauces, Madagascar peppercorn sauce, Sauce Bearnaise, fine herb butter and Chimichurri. The Madagascar peppercorn worked for me, the taste conjuring up an exotic, dark spiciness that added to the allure of the steak.
For side dishes we chose Truffled Mac &Cheese, because our waiter said it was something that had to be tasted to be believed, Sauteed wild mushrooms, Potato gratin Dauphinoise and in the interest of research not greed, we also ordered Rosemary Sweet Potato wedges.
What can be said about the Truffled Mac Cheese except that the chef has taken a humble nursery dish and turned it into a savoury taste sensation that it is hard not to just want MORE. The Potato gratin Dauphinnoise was creamy complimenting the steak beautifully. The Rosemary Sweet Potato wedges perhaps did not get the attention they deserved (the Mac Cheese had stolen that ) but I managed a couple and appreciated their crispness and the fragrant aroma and taste of rosemary. By the way Hailey was spot on with her wine, it just seemed to taste better and better as our meal progressed.
Despite feeling that we could not eat another bite of gorgeous food we just could not pass up dessert. To enhance our dessert experience, Hailey recommended Sandeman’s LBV 2005 Port and Château Roûmieu, Sauternes, Bordeaux 1999. We endorsed her wise choice wholeheartedly!
Choosing a dessert was not as simple. I am fond of caramel and am beginning to be a bit of a connoisseur of creme brulee around the island so creme brulee it was while my companion had chocolate fondant. The desserts were prepared like works of art, the creme brulee came set out on a square plate with black napkin and a bunch of small colourful berries. It felt almost a shame to break the creme brulee crust. I did though and was rewarded with melt in the mouth creaminess. The fondant was probably even more impressive, the melted chocolate interior setting off taste explosions in the mouth. But that was not the end. Our waiter was not prepared to let us go with out tasting the rum cake made by pouring Tortuga rum over caramelised bananas and rum cake, a dish that was soft, moist and flavour some. We were left with a sense of just having enjoyed a culinary delight along with service that combined knowledge with friendly, attentive service making the experience just sublime.