After being closed since late August, Blue by Eric Ripert at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman reopened on Thursday, 13 December, with a new and – if you don’t mind Ripert saying so – sexy look.
The French chef spent five days in Grand Cayman last week to attend the reopening and to work on some of the restaurant’s menu changes, as well as to do some planning for the 2013 Cayman Cookout food and wine festival starting on 17 January.
Discussing the restaurant’s makeover with guests during a cocktail reception to celebrate the reopening, Ripert said there were some key words that described the restaurant’s new look.
“It’s contemporary, luxurious, comfortable and sexy,” he said. “I think sexy is a good word for a restaurant.”
The chef said he was pleased with the way renovation came out, noting that it took some of the stuffiness out of the restaurant’s atmosphere.
“We feel very young after this renovation,” he said. “We feel like teenagers.”
The interior design, which was done by The Johnson Studio out of Atlanta, includes a mural that flows through the entire restaurant depicting a map of islands in the ocean. The mural was created by British-born artist Grahame Ménage, who did a similar mural at the acclaimed New Orleans Restaurant R’evolution earlier this year.
Now based near Atlanta, Ménage has also worked as a scenic artist for many film productions, including “The Dresser”, “Gladiator” and “X-Men: First Class”.
The new, dark blue carpet at the restaurant depicts the night sky with constellations, adding to the sea and sky nautical theme.
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman General Manager Marc Langevin noted that slate-blue background colour of the mural, as opposed to the yellowish fabric that covered walls previously, made the natural wood details of the restaurant really stand out. He said that when some people see the restaurant now,they think the wood details were added in the renovation, but they were always there, but just not as noticeable.
The renovation also included adding more banquette seating, which had been popular, but very limited previously.
The interior is not the only thing that will be different about Blue now. Ripert said the menu had a lot of changes, as well.
“We have added a lot of new dishes,” he said, adding that some of the more popular offerings – like the ‘tuna-foie gras’ dish – are still available on the à la carte menu.
This was the second major renovation Ripert’s restaurants have undergone since last year. His flagship restaurant in New York, the famed Le Bernardin, was closed for five weeks during the summer of 2011 to facilitate a similar modernising renovation.
“It created a completely different flow, a completely different atmosphere,” he said of Le Bernardin’s new look. Guests coming to Blue by Eric Ripert will probably notice something similar in relation to that restaurant now.