Food

Blue Ridge Restaurant, Take3

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

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Incredible as it sounds, Blue Ridge is all set to celebrate its third year of business. Thursday Food spent an agreeable afternoon atop Salt Hill, Sunday last, basking in the beauty of our beloved island and its amazing topography. The verdant hills and cool breeze make the treacherous route a distant memory, especially after two cups of Blue Mountain coffee sweetened with condensed milk! We are ready to peruse the menu, paying keen attention to the new offerings. We start with bruschetta and settle on the entrées of BBQ baby back ribs and the still-popular guava-glazed pork chops with sides of baked beans and cornbread. We try the red wine sangria made with blueberries from the property. Delish!

Finally, there are vanilla ice cream cones for dessert.

“Things have been going really well,” shares Chef Sarah Willers and her business partner Tabetha Phillips. “We've maintained our focus on great food and great service,” continues Phillips, “with Chef Sarah Willers concentrating on the delivery of great food while I concentrate on training front-of-house staff. We feel that it is of great importance for all of our guests to have a wonderful dining adventure when they come to Blue Ridge. Attention to detail and providing a warm, friendly environment help us to achieve this goal.”

What the enterprising duo have down pat is the delicious comfort fare at the end of a drive that can take up to an hour. The styling remains impressive, but it is the food that is the real winner. Every mouthful is a symphony of deliciousness.

The menu, we are told, changes every three months, “to keep things fresh and new”. Signature dishes like the guava glazed pork chops and bacon plantain wraps and the blue hot chocolate remain constants, however.

New summer menu options include creamy crab dip, bruschetta, BBQ baby back ribs, broccoli and cheese stuffed chicken breast with a creamy garlic sauce, Southwest stuffed chicken breast (black beans, salsa, cheese) in a creamy Sriracha sauce. New desserts include Affogato, an Italian dessert with layers of coffee rum liqueur, coffee rum ice cream, coffee and topped with whipped cream. There's also the Quetzal Chocolatl, a hot chocolate inspired by the Mayans who were the first to use cocoa to make hot chocolate. It is a little spicy with a hint of cayenne and cinnamon. And the Royal Danish Butter Cookie Cheesecake, “a sophisticated twist”, according to the duo, “on a traditional favourite... These cookies remind us both of our grandmothers; whenever you saw that blue tin come out you knew you had to sweet up grandma and get some of those cookies! Making it into a cheesecake has proved to be divine”.

“Our menu,” adds Willers, “certainly has an international flare, inspired by our love for travel, food and honouring the different influences that have played such big parts in both our lives. Blue Ridge isn't just about food. We want to take our guests on a real dining adventure. We try to include items in our menu to satisfy a variety of palates. We use local, organically grown vegetables as we know the importance of fresh, real food (no pesticides, please!). We also source our meat from suppliers who do not use antibiotics and hormones. While we adhere to the health-conscious side, we have to leave room for naughty indulgence! Our creamy crab dip has hit the ground running, homemade macaroni and cheese is an all-around favourite and our dessert menu is quite extensive with 10 different items.”

The service remains a work in progress but the staff have the right attitude and we concur with Willers that “we have been very fortunate to have great staff members come on board and see and understand our vision”.

There are plans to expand the kitchen and parking area this year. “Our weekends have got pretty busy and also there's demand for private group rentals,” says Phillips.

That said, Blue Ridge remains a worthwhile weekend visit.

 

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