Every once in a while a foodie will slip you the name of an out-of-the-way, off-the-beaten-path restaurant, then reinforce the message with, “Not to be missed.” Boots, located in St. George’s inside a home on the Caribbean island of Grenada is just such a place.
The restaurant is a mom and pop and daughter operation that only caters to diners who have reserved in advance. No walk-ins. It’s a Friday night and evening is blanketing the island as we begin looking for a sign that will distinguish “Boots” from the other houses on the residential block. Ah, there’s a small sign up against a wooden fence.
“Hello! Welcome to Boots!”
A warm, amiable woman introduces herself as Ruby, Boots' wife, and guides us to the patio where we are seated in front of a chalkboard with that day’s prix fixe menu. We begin our evening with Rum Punch; tropical, delicious, and potent. It’s a Friday night, and even though Boots has been highly recommended by a food critic in Conde Nast, we appear to be the sole diners.
The first course is Callaloo soup, which I’m told if not properly prepared can make you very, very ill. Of course, Boots is a seasoned chef, and prepares it brilliantly. There are hints of Grenada’s spices in Callaloo: nutmeg, bay leaf, and saffron
Boots comes out to the patio to meet us between courses. He’s charming, and obviously thrives on having his own restaurant. A man moving through middle age who’s worked for several of the most luxurious resorts on the island needs his own culinary outlet. He wants to know how we like the soup? The rum punch? Needless to say, we are thrilled with it all, including the homemade bread.
Flying fish on cassava — cassava is a vegetable root — is a taste sensation. In America, as I recall, catching a flying fish is a crime, so in all my years of fishing off the coast of Catalina Island in California I never tasted it. Obviously, this is not the case in Grenada. Boots prepared the delicacy by grinding it with a delicate blend of spices and deep- frying. Three small, delicious bites.
Wood Crove Curry Chicken.
The T.L.C. Salad — lettuce, tomato and cucumber tasted like they had just been plucked from the back garden. Fresh ingredients, as Boots informs us, are a key to achieving the quality and unique tastes that he’s striving to achieve.
For the main course we are given three choices: Grilled Lambie Steak with herb sauce, Wood Grove Curry Chicken, or Fresh Tuna in Creole Sauce with steamed vegetables and stew peas. When I learn that lambie means conch, as in the shell, that’s what I order. And again, lambie is a first for me. Of the three entrées — we tasted each other’s and immediately toasted — we were now on to wine — to the best meal we had had in Grenada.
The lambie steak was surprisingly tender, considering conch is muscle tough (Editor's note: conch has to be tenderized with a hammer.). The herb sauce had a subtle richness that somehow made the dish melt in one’s mouth.
Grilled Lambie Steak in Herb Sauce.
Dessert was breadfruit and sweet potato balls and coucou.
Many of the taste sensations were new and delicious. After all, Grenada is a Spice island. Nutmeg, bay leaves, cinnamon, saffron, cloves, and cocoa beans are a few of the crops grown there.
By the end of the meal we felt truly fortunate to have followed the foodie’s suggestion.
If you are planning a trip to the Caribbean, specifically the island of Grenada, be sure to have a meal at Boots. You will find that you are treated more like a treasured relative than a tourist adrift in a foreign country.
The cost per person including drinks and the tip came to $75 EC or about $30 US per person.
For reservations call: 473/444-2151. Boots is located on Grand Anse Valley Road, Woodlands, St. George’s, Grenada.
— Feature by Linda Lane, Jetsetters Magazine Entertainment Editor. Read the Jetsetters Magazine feature about Callaloo Soup.