Friday, September 4, 2009

Two thumbs down on Bahama Breeze

If you're looking for an authentic taste of the islands, steer clear of Bahama Breeze, a chain restaurant that was awarded two stars today by The Record of Hackensack.

The dishes described in the review barely resemble the real thing and some of the signature dishes of The Bahamas, Jamaica and other islands don't seem to be served at all.

Where, for example, is the incredible conch salad served at open-air restaurants and everywhere else in Nassau, where the mollusk is chopped finely and served with lime juice and hot peppers that will leave your lips tingling? Where is the wonderful steamed fish with okra you find in Jamaica (and this okra is cooked beautifully, with no slime)? Where is the smoked and chopped jerk chicken and pork?

Bahama Breeze serves beef patties with a fruit salsa (yech). Ribs are bathed in a guava barbecue sauce, not rubbed with a mixture of lip-smacking spices. And there is dulce de leche cheesecake, just what all us weight-watchers need.

If you're looking for good Caribbean food, there are several ethnic places in North Jersey that are far more satisfying. Try Mac West Indian Restaurant on Central Avenue or Casual Habana Cafe on Main Street, both Hackensack; and Ashanti's International Cuisine on Englewood Avenue in Englewood. Ashanti, which is mainly take-out, prepares steamed fish with okra and jerk chicken and pork on some days.


  1. I ate here about a month ago with my wife, sister-in-law from out of town and my year old son. The food was terrible. On the menu it stated that you could have a vine ripened tomato salad as a side with my Cuban sandwich but when I asked for it was told they were out of the salad. The Cuban sandwich had salami in it. I don't remember salami being part of a Cuban sandwich that I have eaten in the past. I agree, two thumbs down. My son's kids meal of mac and cheese was literally drained in butter.

  2. You are right. The Cuban sandwich should never have salami -- just roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. La Pola at Palisade and 54th Street in West New York has a terrific sandwich, moistened by Mr. Rico's mojito of garlic and oil.

  3. I might have to check out that place in West New York, the only time I am up there is to eat at the Guatamalan chicken chain Pollo Campero.

  4. Yes, I tried Pollo Campero and loved it. Places in the area I want to try include Cemita Poblano, a Mexican sandwich place. Two great Cuban restaurants are Mi Bandera and Las Palmas, the latter known for the chicharrones, or pork rinds, served in the bread basket at the start of the meal. That whole Bergenline Avenue corridor is an incredible concentration of Latino food worth exploring over and over again.


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