By Karin and Bob Schlesinger
Cruz Bay Prime is the new steak and seafood restaurant at the Westin Resort. We noted just minor changes (from previous food ventures on the second-floor of the main building, besides adding some) modern twists to the décor. The friendly attentive service from the entire staff exceeded our high expectations.
Cruz Bay Prime’s full-menu offers everything from salads ($8 Caesar) and appetizers ($12 lobster cappucino) to entrées including local seafood ($25) and a 16-oz. prime rib eye ($45). The wine menu was small but diverse with a selection which most wine drinkers will find very acceptable. Our individual glasses of Louis Jardot Pinot Noir ($11 glass; $44 bottle) arrived aerating in mini-carafes ready for an initial pour by the waitstaff. Nice touch.
For a little kick, try the yellow fin tuna tartar ($12) appetizer with a lemongrass wasabi and wakami – the best in our recent memories. The beef carpaccio ($11) is well-proportioned and topped with parmesan shavings, baby arugula and truffle oil. Our 8 oz medium-rare beef tenderloin ($28) came exactly as ordered, slightly red in the center, tender and moist. The double-cut lamb chops ($40) were sizeable, and the roasted herbs, Dijon and Madeira sauce added a sweet and tasty compliment.
Vegetables are ordered separately ($7 each) and delivered family style. We especially enjoyed the grilled asparagus with lemon butter. A foursome from Michigan told us the creamed spinach was extraordinary (with grated nutmeg and Parmesan). They’d come back to dine 4 times in 6 nights and said, “Why bother with anywhere else when the food is that good?”
The family seated next to us from Minnesota included three children aged 2, 4, and almost 6. Husband Ty told us this was their second visit and the kids unanimously liked splitting a large 14-oz. strip steak ($40) the best. Cruz Bay Prime offers a full children’s menu too (entrée’s $8-14). The only thing these kids didn’t love was the macaroni and cheese (made with smoked gouda and roasted shallots, which we adored). Kids!
Yummy desserts feature tropical fruit concoctions along with the requisite key lime pie and sorbets, but we chose to split an espresso brulee ($9), rich but decaffinated. That was matched with a nicely done decaf cappuccino ($6) that rivals any we’ve had on St. John.
Cruz Bay Prime is open Wednesday through Sunday only, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and reservations are strongly recommended. When asked why it was closed the other days, we were told executive chef Peter Ham has those days off and the restaurant is only open when he is there to ensure quality. That’s a big plus for those looking for consistency in their fine dining.
There is no question Cruz Bay Prime is ready for prime time and on a par with top St. John restaurants for that special dinner with out of town guests, or a great vacation dining experience. We’ll be back.
- Besides eating together at the island's best places, Bob and Karin Schlesinger also work together at Tropical Focus Photography (http://www.tropicalfocus.com/) where they create "Extraordinary images with an island flair!."