Michael and I love Grenadian food and like to try restaurants that specialize in local food. Last year, we discovered Boots Cuisine. I know I’ve written about how wonderful the Grenadian people are and Boots and his wife Ruby are fabulous examples of Grenadian graciousness. We were heading back from a photo shoot around 8:30 PM and were looking for a place to eat dinner. I called Boots Cuisine semi-expecting that a 9 PM arrival would be too late to be served and Ruby confirmed that yes it would be hard to give us a great meal so late and I said I’d call again. We called again on Sunday night and Boots answered the phone. When we asked if we could come to dinner, he said he was closed on Sundays but he would feed us if we were hungry and needed a place to eat. We laughed and said no, we would come back sometime when they were open. This is so typical of Grenadians – friendly, accommodating and sweet!
At the time, I didn’t realize that Boots is a master chef and prepares not just local food but gourmet local food so, of course he would need advance notice that we were coming. We made a reservation calling mid-afternoon and drove over for a fabulous dinner. If you are lucky, you might be the only guests there and have an unforgettable experience of a private dinner. Boots serves a five course dinner for 95 EC (Eastern Caribbean) dollars which is equivalent to about $35 per person. Dinner consists of a soup, a salad, an appetizer, homemade bread, 3 choices of entrees with lots of local vegetables and starches plus a desert. Boots serves some of the best local food on the island.
We’ve been back to Boots Cuisine twice already this year and have plans for 2 or 3 more visits. We love to bring Grenadians to local restaurants that they haven’t dined at before and have some local friends we would like to delight. We will also have 2 or 3 sets of visitors coming on island and Boots Cuisine will be a must-do excursion. In many respects, Boots has a perfect restaurant. It is a small, intimate setting, set outside on a covered veranda with flowers all around, softly lit, has exceptional food (by Boots), beautiful presentation and gracious service (by Ruby). Boots and Ruby are so welcoming and fun to talk with, plus getting hugs when we arrive and leave (now that we are friends after being there once) is the proverbial icing on the cake that makes each visit special.
For our most recent visit, Boots served Callaloo Soup as a starter. Callaloo is somewhat similar to Spinach but shouldn’t be eaten raw. Cooked either as a vegetable or soup, it is wonderful ~ thick, creamy and delicious. Boots adds a little salt fish which adds a great seafood flavor. I’ve also had it spiced with Nutmeg and Butter which is also wonderful. After the soup, Ruby served Tettrie Fritters. Tettrie is a teeny, tiny fish that is eaten whole. Boots fries these up in a lovely batter and makes a wonderful dipping sauce. I’ve had these twice and have really loved them. After the fritters, Ruby serves a nice, fresh salad of local lettuces, sweet tomatoes, cucumbers and a homemade dressing. Grenadian tomatoes taste like how I remember sun ripened tomatoes tasting when I was growing up (before all the modifications to help them ship better, have longer shelf life but also less tasty and more mushy). They are small, sweet, firm and very flavorful. YUM!
All of Boots’ entrées sound fabulous. Here are some examples – Grilled Marlin, Garlic Lambi (Conch), Curried Chicken, Goat stew, Fried Fish in herb sauce, Boiled Lobster with Garlic Lime sauce. He offers three choices each evening and it is usually hard to decide which one to try because they all sound so great. The first visit this year, I had the Marlin and Michael had the Lambi ~ both were delicious. The second time we dined, we both had the Lobster and it was fabulous. Each entrée comes with a wide variety of small tastes of local vegetables and starches. Tastes may include Pumpkin (a local squash that is different from our Pumpkin), Dasheen, Coucou (similar to Polenta), Christophene (another squash that is great and a local favorite), Breadfruit, Plantain, Cassava, Pigeon Peas, etc. I love trying a taste of all these foods and seeing how Boots prepares them.
Dessert is usually a sampler of 2 or 3 sweet things – could be a local ice cream, a sweet bread like Pumpkin bread or a Chocolate Mousse. As you should guess, each was delicious.
Oh, and I forgot their great Rum Punch. Ruby checked to see who was driving and said that person (me) could have two and Michael could have three. The drinks came in short glasses and I was thinking, only 2?, but after savoring both drinks, I realized Ruby was right. They packed a punch and I’m glad I didn’t have third. BUT, I may ask Michael to drive the next time ’cause they were so yummy!
Boots Cuisine is the kind of place I love to go with Michael alone for a wonderful, private dinner; to bring Grenadians who haven’t eaten there, to expose them to his great food and to bring our visitors so they can have a taste of Gourmet Grenadian food and experience first-hand the warmth of Boots and Ruby, unofficial ambassadors for the Grenadian people.