Friday, April 20, 2018

Fish by José Andrés at The Cove at Atlantis (Bahamas)

The day I headed out to The Bahamas, I found out that Fish, a seafood restaurant by José Andrés, had just opened at The Cove at Atlantis the day before (on April 12, 2018). I love José Andrés and have generally had great meals at his restaurants including Bazaar Steak in Las Vegas, so I really wanted to try Fish while I was in the area. I couldn't get a reservation online but I was told that they take walk-ins.

The restaurant wasn't full when I got there, and I managed to get seated in the lounge area for dinner. Fish by Jose Andres

I started with probably the one healthy dish I had all weekend: Brussels sprouts, lemon pith puree, apricot, grapes ($12)
Fish by Jose Andres
The brussels sprouts was tender and delicate and I loved the unusual combination with sweet grapes.

For me, the must order here is the conch, the Bahamian treasured mollusk! FISH offers a few preparations of the mollusk, and I ordered the grilled conch with chimichurri sauce ($24)
Fish by Jose Andres

The grilled version was excellent. It really showcases the flavors and textures of the conch itself. So fresh, firm and had just the right chewiness. The chimichurri sauce didn't overwhelm the flavor of the conch either. I could eat this all day!

Their conch fritters ($12) were not your typical fritters. Here, they have a creamy liquid center. The filling reminds me of chowder.

I was obviously ordering too much, but I figured I could use the fridge in my hotel room and save on buying breakfast at the hotel ... but anyway, I ended up ordering the whole fried lionfish.
The lionfish is a non-native invasive species that's destroying the reefs in the Caribbean. From an NPR article: "In 1992, Hurricane Andrew smashed an aquarium tank in Florida. About a half-dozen spiny, venomous lionfish washed into the Atlantic Ocean, spawning an invasion that could kill off local industry along with the native fish."

The lionfish population has spread all over the Caribbean now from that half dozen, and chef José Andrés is determined to help with the issue by convincing us tourists to eat it! Portion of the proceeds from the lionfish dish will benefit the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation.

The lionfish served here is spear-fished in the Caribbean sea. It's fried whole and served with tartar sauce. There are a few fried pieces on the side - basically a really good fish and chips (without the chips) - but the best part for me was eating the collar.

I also tried the Asopao rice stew - a Puerto Rican rice stew with a whole lobster, ham, alcaparrado ($58). I imagine this dish came about from the chef's time volunteering in Puerto Rico and feeding the victims of the hurricane there. The night I was there, they're using Maine lobster for the stew, although when in season they will use Bahamian lobster.
The stew was brought out and served tableside.
The asopao is rich, flavorful, and very comforting. It reminds me of gumbo, in a way. It's served with a bit of salsa on the side that helps cleanse your palate.

Fine dining in the Bahamas, especially at Atlantis, is certainly expensive, and there are many that are definitely not worth it. José Andrés did a great job at presenting an interesting menu and maintaining the quality of the food at his restaurants around the world, including here in the Bahamas. The restaurant was brand new, but the service was attentive (sometimes even too attentive).

Fish by José Andrés
The Cove at Atlantis
Paradise Island, Bahamas


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