Bahama Breeze, conveniently located off of 271 near Chagrin, is one of my favorite restaurants in the area. Once upon a time, in high school, Bahama Breeze was my go-to “special occasion” eatery. I’d say now I view it as more an “any day” destination. It was a little over thirty minutes from my house and was one of the first places I tried food out of my comfort zone. This basically means that I ate something that wasn’t pasta, pizza, or salad. (Gee, sounds like I’m Italian, I wish!)
My first love there was the lemonade with real sugar cane in it. I also love the way they box your food- leftovers come back to you in a pie shaped container with the date and a tropical picture on it, both practical and aesthetically pleasing for your fridge. I remember going to Bahama Breeze on my 21st birthday. We went all out and ordered the Jumbo Lump Crab Stack, I was in heaven. Even though some other restaurants in Cleveland have earned some higher rankings in my mind for food, Bahama Breeze is the place that has and always will have a special place in my heart.
Bahama Breeze is an ideal choice for happy hour. Despite being a proud West-sider, I do have friends on the Eastside and do venture to their side from time to time. It’s only fair, right? Last Monday, I did just that. Bahama Breeze had invited me to try some of their new appetizers in spirit of their new late night happy hour. 9 to 11 is the new 5 to 7, am I right?! Though Karla and I had planned our rendezvous far in advance, we could not have picked a better day. Last Monday (not unlike this Monday) was a dreary, dark day. Walking into BB after work was like stepping into my own personal paradise, away from work e-mails, distant from powerpoints, and loaded with drink specials and shrimp.
We were seated in a booth in the bar area and had a great view of the open-concept kitchen. I hope open-kitchens isn’t just a trend. I enjoy being able to watch the chefs execute the dishes, see the expo add the garnishes, and scope out the dishes as they are carried out for consumption. Chris was our server and he was enthusiastic and checked on us regularly- we lost him for a hot second towards the end of the meal but he was great. Andreas, the manager, also stopped by to greet us, share some of his favorites with us, and talk to us about what makes Bahama Breeze so delicious. They make the purees for their drinks and most of the food is from scratch. His energy was contagious, making a Monday feel like a Friday- which is pretty dangerous considering drinks were involved.
The drink of choice was an easy decisions. The Bahamarita came recommended and for good reason. The Bahamarita, besides having a kick ass name, is tequila, kiwi, strawberry and mango ices. There were actually bit of fruit in the drink. It was definitely sweet but not in the artificial syrup way.
Picking out appetizers was not as easy. We thought three would be a good number, but three what? My favorite dish was the korean pork tacos. This is outside of my comfort zone but Karla was all in for them and she knows food. They were not hot-spicy but more like flavorful-kick, which is a relief for me (a sadly, spicey-averse palette.) My next favorite is a tie for second out of three, this is a good problem to have. We ordered the onion rings, homemade breading and batter, and a honey mustard dipping sauce sounded too good to pass up. The portion was heaping. This is an appetizer I would definitely get again if I have a larger group, it’s more like onion rings for four, not two. I wasn’t crazy about the honey dipping sauce, I wanted the bbq I’m accustomed too. Thankfully, our third appetizer was the Firecracker Shrimp and the onion rings with that sauce was tasty! The Firecracker Shrimp dish was also a generous portion and added a good pop to the meal. (Pun intended.) At some point we even moved on to mojitos- I wouldn’t recommend moving from Bahamaritas to mojitos, I think our taste buds had been compromised and though the mint was fresh and the sugar cane potent, it seemed to mild in comparison.
Overall, it was a lovely time. We didn’t want to leave back into the monsoon outside. I’m looking forward to a return trip. It’s the ideal meetup for the ladies of my family, I might even be back for my grandma’s birthday towards the end of the month!