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Monday, March 1, 2010

Iggie's Beach Bar and Grill - Bolongo Bay

If you are researching a trip to St Thomas, you have probably come across someone talking about Iggie's Beach Bar and Grill in your research. A wonderful setting, next to the Bolongo Bay Beach Club. Right on the beach, with wonderful views of the Caribbean.

Check out their website, they have fun nightly entertainment. If you have a Jimmy Buffet Margaretaville/"Fins to the Left" Bar fantasy, this is the place for you! In fact, the night we were there, a local artist was singing lots of island hits from my iPod (no Frankie and Annette though)!

Pretty extensive bar, lots of rum drinks and at least a dozen varieties of bottles and beer on tap.

Jackie tried a Rum punch drink, I am still trying new things, and had a wonderful Virgin Islands Summer Ale (they are making this year round), made in St John (One of the "other" US Virgin islands).

For an appetizer, we had a terrific "West Indian Conch Fritter" with a mango dipping sauce... Very good. In fact, that sauce was very very very good... need to start working on this sauce... And eat more mangos.

Sadly, we made a mistake from here in the ordering. I have a pretty good sense of what a bar tries to be, and I do not try to ask the bar to be more than it is. Bar food is meant to be fried, breaded and cooked fast. Lots of outstanding bars serve outstanding sandwiches, fries, breaded stuff. The fried fritters were outstanding! It takes a really outstanding bar to serve an outstanding dinner.

Jackie ordered the Grilled Mahi Mahi - Blackened. Sadly, I do not believe they have a live fire (coal or gas even) grill in the back cooking their dinner menu. They have a grill pan. What they do not have is a Blackening cooking pan. Blackening "should" be a cooking process as much as spices. Get your butter smoking hot and add spices to your meat. Then cook til the spices sear, giving a "black" crusty layer of butter and spice. Paul Prudhome from New Orleans made the process famous with his blackened redfish. the Blackened Mahi mahi would have been exactly what I expect to get if I ordered this dish in Minnesota. It was just spiced and pan grilled. Not awful, but not as good as it could be. Just a couple weeks ago, back in Kansas, I did a post on cooking Blackened Pork Chops, the photos on that post show the process, as well as what the final product should look like. Imagine that process on the fish and you would really have something!

It was served with some cooked sweetened plantains that were excellent and rice which was also good. Vegetables are tough to find on the island. There is just nothing fresh. Unfortunately, the peas and carrots were fresh from a can.

And here, I made a big mistake. The waitress was raving on the ribs, saying best in the islands. OK, let's try em...

They were just as tender and moist as you could ask for. But, they achieved that tender and moist by boiling them (this is a guess, but I would bet $1.98 I am right). You should be able to taste the meat. The meat was tender, the meat was moist, the meat had little taste. Now, the sauce was a RUM AND COKE sauce that the waitress really raved about. In order to make up for the meat having most of the flavor going down a drain, they over sauced the ribs. The sauce was very very good but they could have easily used 1/3rd of what they put on. They also did not grill (even pan grill) the ribs with the sauce on. This would have caramelized the sugar in the rum and coke sauce and added an extra layer of flavor (as well as a bit of crunch for extra texture). Now, over sauced and boiled is how easily 1/2 the ribs in the US are served. So, nothing terrible about this, and I am sure there are many people who rave about the sauce.

It just could have been better.

But, the beer was ice cold, the food was served warm, and there was plenty for your money. the location was straight out of a Jimmy Buffet postcard. The staff and service were excellent, friendly and fast. The minor issues with the food are things that I should know better, and are my own fault. Don't ask a bar to be more than it is.

And this is a GREAT BAR!

Open air seating, but always a cool ocean breeze

Lots of extra decor (twinkle lights) add to the festive atmosphere. Jackie is a sucker for twinkle lights.

And this was the view from our hotel room!

This is a very short cab ride from where cruise ships dock. Skip the shopping, come have lunch and a quick dip in the ocean at Iggie's beach Bar and Grill!


  1. Seems to me Iggie's could use your assistance.

    I know it's going to be rough with locating and enjoying fresh vegetables but, maybe you can substitute tropical fruit-Do they grow any on the island?

  2. I can't wait to see you come up with your own version of rum and coke bbq sauce! I hate when people boil their ribs. Duh what are they thinking with?!