The circumstances that evolved into our dining at Havana Blue were unique. We heard from many locals that Havana Blue was a "must do" on our trip. One day we decided to stop in and check out the menu. We were told that the Sand Bar lounge served the same food as Havana Blue. We decided to try it since we were in beach attire and it would be a chance to sample some of the menu offerings.
Surprisingly, we were quite disappointed. The bar drinks were very average, and the three items we tried from the menu were not impressive. On top of that, the barmaid was snooty or had some sort of attitude. She certainly wasn't happy about being there and serving us. We left the Sand Bar displeased to say the least. We spent the better part of $100 and felt like we got very little for it. We decided then that we would not be dining at Havana Blue. We had seen enough.
A couple of days later, we got back from St. John on the late ferry and were looking for somewhere to eat in Red Hook. We walked into Coco Blue and they had seating so we had dinner there without knowing anything about the place. The food, drinks, and service were fantastic. Speaking with the waitress, we asked for suggestions of where else we should eat on the island and she suggested Havana Blue. We told her no way, and shared our experience with her. It turns out that Havana Blue and Coco Blue have the same owners. I guess we should have put that together by the naming, but we had been out in the sun all day . . . .
Our waitress shared our story with Steve, one of the owners, who happened to be at Coco Blue that evening. He came over to our table to learn more and promised us a better experience if we would try Havana Blue. We thanked him, but we really didn't want to go because of our unpleasant experience. Besides, you hear lip service all the time. But we did appreciate his concern about our experience and his offer to make it right.
A couple of days later, we tried to return to Coco Blue for another fine dinner, only to discover that it was closed for a private event. But Steve was there and he insisted we go to Havana Blue. So we did.
We were welcomed warmly, seated at a table with a great view, and treated supremely well. This may or may not be how all customers are treated. We very much enjoyed our meal. We tried a variety of drinks from the bar, and they were all tasty.
For appetizers, we had the lettuce wraps and the shiitake spring rolls. For entrees, we had the sea bass and the ancho filet. Both entrees were very good and I would definitely get the ancho filet again. It was very unique with the ancho chile/espresso rub and the side dishes. I did have to send the steak back to the kitchen though to have the preparation repaired. It was not cooked as requested. Happily, they brought it back with fresh, hot side dishes. The steak was very tender and delicious. I cleaned my plate and so did my husband. We also enjoyed desserts of ice cream and creme brulee. It was a very nice meal. The Havana Blue management took care of a considerable portion of our bill.
We sincerely appreciate the effort that Steve put into repairing our opinion of Havana Blue. He is a good manager and really cares about his restaurants and his customers. That's a fine thing to see. He even stopped by the restaurant while we were dining to see how we were doing! He also let us know that he had a meeting with his other owners and had already taken steps to correct some of the issues that we had experienced. We think that's great leadership and we hope that both restaurants continue to flourish and serve great food.
We look forward to returning to both restaurants next time we're in St. Thomas. Thanks for everything Steve!
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