Let’s eat

For the past two weeks, Atlantis has been showcasing a celebration of impeccable food through specially curated chef tasting menus offered at fixed rates across 14 of the resort’s restaurants. But time is winding down on what has been an impressive two weeks of EAT: Extraordinary Taste @ Atlantis, with two days left – today and tomorrow – to take advantage of a value-driven concept featuring three and four-course meal options on prix fixe menus across their gourmet, signature and casual restaurants, which has made dining extremely attractive.

A gourmet four-course tasting menu at $65 is to be had at Café Martinique where the chef has recreated the luxury and legendary ambiance of Café Martinique – originally made famous by its appearance in the 1965 James Bond classic, “Thunderball”.

This is one of those must-do experiences at this time considering Café Martinique has gone through a concept change to a more plant-forward one under Chef Alessio Pitzalis, having moved away from the Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s combination of French flavors coupled with local bounty.

Full disclosure – I love Chef Jean-Georges’ food, and to be honest, I wasn’t immediately sold on Pitzalis’ debut menu when he initially took the helm, so I didn’t know what to expect when I dined there for EAT, but it provided the perfect opportunity to explore the menu offerings at a totally doable price to see if my view had been swayed.

After a one-month closure and menu tweaks, Pitzalis, I’m happy to say, seems to be hitting his stride. I went away with the thought that I would like to return to peruse more of the menu offerings outside of what was selected to be showcased on the EAT menu – just to ensure that it was just as good as what I’d dined on.

My interest has been piqued by a number of menu items that I’d love to sink my teeth into – the cured beef carpaccio with pecorino cream, baby leaves, sourdough cream and truffle oil, because I can’t resist a luscious beef carpaccio; chickpea falafel… well because falafels are just morsels of delightful goodness; and the foie gras torchon with dark rum brioche, beetroot onion jam, ruby port jelly and forest syrup to satisfy the foie gras lover. There is also a Nassau grouper carpaccio that seems interesting, served with roasted beetroot, citrus, capers and crispy beetroot. And that’s just among the starters.

The roasted heritage potato offering – truffle potato puree, spinach, baby red onion and bell pepper vierge – seems intriguing.

I witnessed the wait staff’s trolley service of the Bahamian lobster flambe – spiny lobster ragout, sage cream sauce, shaved bottarga and lemon – and it’s one of those dishes that pulls you in as you see it prepared for the table next to you. The Muscovy duck breast with roasted beetroot carpaccio, pan-seared baby corn, ruby port infused fig gel and natural jus has my name written all over it as a huge duck fan.

In an ode to the whimsical, there’s a dessert on the menu titled “This is not a tomato” – which looks like you’re being served tomato for your end-of-dinner sweet, but in all actuality isn’t a tomato. It’s strawberry mousse, tomato marmalade and champagne granite. Suffice it to say, what you see is not what you get.

Just so you know, the restaurant’s regular menu offerings are options to be had, if you want to step away from the EAT menu, if an item catches your eye that’s not among the prix fixe offerings.

But if you’re considering taking in a dining option for the last two days of EAT, the Café Martinique selections for this prix fixe menu include a choice of three first-course items – truffle potato gnocchi, baked seafood and foie gras torchon; a choice of two second-course items – creamy mushrooms chestnut soup or stewed mussels Provencal; and four entrées – vegetable tagine, grilled Nassau grouper, free-range organic chicken breast and a slow roast Colorado lamb rack. Tarte tartin and a chocolate mascarpone comprise the two dessert options from which to choose.

During my EAT experience, I opted for the truffle potato gnocchi – versatile Italian dumplings that are beautiful baked, fried or boiled, and are something I can never pass up on a menu. But they have to be fluffy pillows of goodness. My husband, whom I dined with, opted for the baked seafood with squid, prawns, cherry tomato sauce, burrata flakes and basil pesto, so I was able to satisfy my want and my curiosity because the baked seafood had caught my eye and I was able to sneak bites from my hubby’s. Actually, I wanted to steal his entire plate, because the flavors the chef coaxed into this dish were delightful. The only thing missing for me was some toasted bread with which to soak up all that delicious broth.

The gnocchi with forest mushrooms and roasted pumpkin also proved to be delicious with a surprise addition of parmesan fondue which imparted a delightful hint of salt to the dish and gave that unexpected element of surprise, because I’d never had gnocchi before with cheese in it.

The stewed mussels Provencal was a light bridge between the first and third course. The portion serving was just right, and the broth light enough to not be filling.

For my entrée, I went with the grilled Nassau grouper with cauliflower purée, roasted baby eggplant, baby beets and parsley dressing. The fish was cooked perfectly. It was tender and luscious, and paired well with the silky cauliflower purée, with the baby beets and eggplant adding a hint of sweetness to the dish which was balanced by the herbaceous parsley dressing.

The tarte tatin featured slow-cooked caramelized apples with Breton sable with vanilla Chantilly, another name for whipped cream, a sweetened cream flavored with vanilla and whipped until smooth and satiny.

You also have the option to add a wine pairing to the Café Martinique prix fixe menu for $35 with Dr. Loosen Red Slate Dry Riesling, Mosel, Germany, with the first course; Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut, Epernay, France, with the second course; Pertinace, Barbaresco, Italy, with the third course; and Graham’s 10 Years Tawny Port, Douro with dessert.

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Shavaughn Moss

Shavaughn Moss joined The Nassau Guardian as a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor. Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics. Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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