(CNS Foodie): This was my first time visiting Blue Cilantro; to be honest, the off-putting LED lighting throughout the dining room always kept me away. Thankfully, we were seated on the patio, which overlooks West Bay Road and has soft lighting and air conditioning. The only thing I would imagine to be a distraction would be if you were seated at the first table, because they have an automatic sliding door that, when busy, keeps opening and closing constantly.
The table was set beautifully, with charger plates that resembled sea glass and place settings and glassware elegant and refined. We did not feel like we were in Cayman; it was a great escape from reality and we were ready to dive into this East-meets-West inspired menu.
I’ll start off by saying every course was impeccable; there was nothing that we didn’t enjoy. The portions are reasonable for a fine dining restaurant and our server was extremely knowledgeable, attentive and asked the right questions before answering ours. She was honest about portions, and when asked about a choice between two wines, she didn’t just choose the more expensive one to give her a bigger gratuity.
According to an expert sommelier in our party, Blue Cilantro’s wine list is well priced with a variety to suit those looking for affordability as well as some nice selections of premium labels. Our first bottle of white ($55) was magnificent with our shichimi spiced yellowfin tuna ($14), seared foie gras with duck confit spring roll ($18) and clay oven roasted diver sea scallops ($18) appetizers.
A small jar of kimchi (pickled cabbage) was a tart, crunchy compliment to the Japanese spiced tuna; the mini duck confit spring roll and kumquat chutney were a fabulous pairing with the foie gras and the grilled mango slaw underneath two perfectly seared, gigantic scallops, gave a sweet touch of Cayman to the dish with just a little heat from the chili mandarin drizzle on the plate.
They offer homemade clay oven breads as well, $4 for two kinds or $8 for four kinds. You choose between stuffed breads such as pepper jack cheese or black forest ham or flat breads like mint & cilantro or black onion seed. If you’re really hungry, try the breads, but only order two because you will not want to fill up before your entrées show up. The appetizers we chose were fantastic, setting the bar quite high for our main courses.
We had the Rice Flaked Market Fish Mahi ($32), Mediterranean Paella ($39) and the Asian Aromatic Seafood ($39) for mains, all delicious. The market fish can be prepared four different ways and it’s served on top of a creamy, delectable mushroom risotto, steamed veg and truffle corn sauce, perfectly proportioned and the truffle corn sauce complimented the rice flaked mahi nicely.
My friends told the waitress they were starving, so she told them to stay away from duck because although it’s great, it’s only the breast so it’s not a huge portion. They ended up choosing different versions of a similar dish, both served with Caribbean lobster, scallops, shrimp, clams and mussels. The difference was in the sauces and the rice.
When the entrées were delivered, you could smell the smokiness of the chorizo inside the Mediterranean Paella, which came with Saffron Valencia Rice (a Spanish short grain rice typically used in paella). The Asian Aromatic Seafood had tender coconut broth and sushi rice, all in all exemplary. All of the seafood was well represented and by the end of mains, we were at full capacity.
I know many will think this is an advertisement for Blue Cilantro because of the simple fact that everything was spectacular, but it’s not. That being said, I will say that although the food items were fabulous, they need major help with their cocktail list. A beautiful bar was pretty much empty on a weekend night. Why? Maybe the bright neon blue underlay of the bar, perhaps, but I’d venture a guess that it’s due to the cocktails being boring, repetitive and overly sweet. Cayman Cocktail Week is approaching in October. I suggest contacting those in charge and renovating the list, and I bet the bar will be just as popular as the dining room.
15% gratuity added. They do have a split charge for appetizers of $3 and $6 for mains.
Readers’ ratings for Blue Cilantro
Category: Golden Spoons Review