For the final meal in the Bahamas The Monster hits up Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill. With sibling restaurants in New York and Las Vegas, the menu is true to Flay’s roots but with a Bahamian flair. This is the final chance at a great meal on the island, don’t let The Monster down, Bobby.
First impressions are positive. It’s a beautiful room with sweeping views of the beach. Even the clientele is a step up from what normally parades itself around the mega-complex Atlantis with their zinced noses and tank tops from their trip the year before to Cancun!
The blue corn pancake with barbecued duck, scotch bonnet chile and star anise sauce is the first call. It is fucking nuts awesome. Smoky yet sweet, it is everything that works about Southwestern cooking. Rock star start to the meal.
But then the shrimp and roasted garlic corn tamale with fresh corn and cilantro sauce is filled with water logged and over cooked shrimp. It is left sitting on the table. The waiter asks if we enjoyed the dish as he he clears the plate which hasn’t been touched.
The smoked chicken and black bean quesadillas with avocado and toasted garlic crème fraiche are damn fine. That being said, perhaps the crispy conch with hot and sweet yellow pepper-mango relish or the Bahamian spiced chicken skewers with yogurt cilantro sauce and mango vinaigrette would have been better choices given the locale.
For the entrée The Monster debates between the pan-seared local mahi-mahi with Island curry coconut sauce and black-eyed peas and rice or the Yucatan style grouper with crab succotash sauce. Our waiter recommends the Mahi-Mahi so The Monster gets the grouper. The Monster shoots and scores! It’s a gustatory wet dream. The exterior glaze is a riot of flavor. The interior is succulent fish in all its innocent glory. The succotash with crab and corn is kind of like the last kiss from a beautiful women.
The side dishes include sweet potato gratin which is foul and roasted corn with chipotle aioli, lime and cotija cheese which is merely decent.
While The Monster enjoyed (some of) his meal greatly, the reality is this bullshit stupid practice of “celebrity” chefs lending their name to outposts they assuredly have never been to is analogous to The Monster allowing any of you to have sex with his reputation at stake. When three dishes are subpar does the ring of the cash register outweigh the reputation hit you take by licensing out what you have worked so hard to get?
Why go? You hit it big at the nickel slots.
Monster rating: 3/5 Monsters
Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas