Bistro Blu in the Hotel is a large, lit and airy room overlooking Three Sisters Beach. There's a nice long bar you can sit at prior to being seated. Dinner does not start until 7pm usually. The decor is simple, clean and tablecloths are on the table. It's definitely a change from many of the local Bahamian places.
On Exuma, there are generally three types of places to eat. The small snack shops that dot the island and are more for quick bites for locals. They usually have no seating, look rather dirty and you don't know what they will have, but usually only 2 or 3 things. They're mostly for the locals but a few at the fish fry and in Gtown are good. The next level are local family owned places, many run by whole families, that provide clean places, usually on beaches, and cook all the local foods -- fish, conch, lobster, chicken. It's Bahamian style with local veggies, rice peas, etc. they usually have slow service, are not trained in the ways to run their restaurants, are laid back, don't always have all the food, but are warm, friendly, try hard, and when the food comes its usually very tasty. This would include places like Santana's, the Tucker's at Big D's, the Mackenzie's at Shoreline, Cheaters, Iva Bowe, etc. All of them are fantastic for the local experience both of food, people, and frolicking on their beaches. None are fancy, all have Bahamian service time, but all are solidly good and very enjoyable families you should talk with while you wait and drink a cold Kalik.
Now there's a decent number in the third category which are people who have come here to the island who have lived off it, know what a restaurant in a western city would serve, look like, feel like and they are claiming a stake of the Exuma restaurant scene (if there is such a thing!). S when you get a little tired of the local dishes, you can change it up at these places that try to move beyond them. I would include Bistro Blu in that category along with Catch a Fire, Pallapa ( which has really moved up a notch with new chef), Bamboo, Exuma yacht club, etc. All have more worldly approach to the food (island ingredients, but not just the customary island dishes) strive for a higher standard of service, selection, ambiance. They might slip here or there ( service is generally slow everywhere on the island), but they are adding a nice variety to the island.
On to Blu -- it's not always clear what will be served and there are a lot of theme nights, SO ALWAYS CHECK when you call. They have Indian, Mexican, etc. on those nits, you have no choice, it's just what they make. The room is large and can hold big tables of people if you need it. The night we were there had a table from a youth church group --15 or so well behaved kids and two ladies (I wish my kids were as well behaved as those 15!). It was their first stab at Mexican night and it was darn good.
First course was chips and home made salsa and guacamole. What a difference when you have real tomatoes and onions for salsa and guacamole. It was gone in about 5 seconds and we asked for more, which they brought along with a large plate of corn and pepper fritters. They were ok, nothing amazing, and probably needed a sauce for dipping. I guess if there had been some more salsa and guacamole it would have been good, but the second serving disappeared in 10 seconds and I didn't want t oaks for even more.
Next out was a huge plate of spiced and grilled chicken pieces and a very nicely seasoned and char-grilled steak sliced thin along with some local grilled vegetables. It came with some homemade soft tortillas to make Flautas. We rolled up the tortillas with meat, veggies and we did get more dips for this course.
So all in, Blu is a nice addition and worth a visit. The chef brings a different skill to the island and one that other restaurant owners in Exuma should go see and learn from ( use the local ingredients, but create new dishes). While I like the local seafood anyway, sometimes you crave a steak, but I would never trust a steak to be seasoned, tender and grilled right at most places. From what I saw on Mexican night, I think you could satisfy your steak craving at Blu and not be disappointed. (Pallapa also has nice steak dishes). The service was a bit slow, but once the food started coming out, it was fine and the waitresses were extremely nice young ladies. My guess is that you will get food faster by not being there at seven when it opens, but show up 30 to 45 min later. A large group came in and sat at the bar and the food was there within 10 minutes.
I am looking forward to trying their standard menu as the items looked tasty. But a great addition and worth a visit or two I hope the chefs example is picked up as a challenge by some of the locals and Exumas "dining scene" keeps improving. By the way, prices were super reasonable --12 for kids and 22 for adults for a lot of food.
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