Las Brisas Restaurant Reviewed January / February 2011

A photograph of Las Brisas overlooking Chalk Sound National Park, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.Dine overlooking the Chalk Sound National Park at Las Brisas

By Mandy Rostance-Wolf

Imagine your dining experience overlooking a panoramic vista... a lagoon–like bay of iridescent turquoise, generously sprinkled with rocky, mushroom–shaped islets: three breathtaking and spectacular miles of absolute serenity. This is arguably Provo’s most impressive natural attraction – Chalk Sound National Park. The more adventuresome of holidaymakers have already taken the road less travelled to Provo’s south side and discovered this awe–inspiring piece of paradise... a veritable feast for the eyes. And right at the water’s edge, you’ll discover a feast for the palate, at Las Brisas Restaurant & Bar – Caribbean cuisine with a pleasurable Mediterranean splash. This is the essence of al fresco dining... on the spacious terrace or in the open–air gazebo as you take–in the always pleasurable tropical ‘brisas’ and the unparalleled hues of the dazzling waters of Chalk Sound by day, or under a mantle of twinkling stars surrounded by Tiki torches at night.

A photograph of the popular poolside bar at Las Brisas Restaurant, Chalk Sound National Park, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.Las Brisas popular poolside bar

Las Brisas still sports the Island’s most reasonable full bar – a casual, comfortable bar with tables spilling out onto the pool deck. I highly recommend the Mojito – lots of refreshing bits of lime pulp that burst in your mouth with flavour – and the sugar cane skewers add a unique twist.

A photograph of Shrimp in Plantain appetiser at Las Brisas Restaurant, Chalk Sound National Park, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.Las Brisas Shrimp in Plantain appetiser

Imagine an idyllic afternoon spent lingering over an abundance of tapas... or savour a romantic evening indulging in fresh, made–to–order entrees – this menu covers virtually every craving and features some exciting new menu additions. The choice is yours – and at Las Brisas, it really is all about choice.

A photograph of Paella Seafood Rice Special at Las Brisas Restaurant, Chalk Sound, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.Paella Seafood Rice Special - for a minimium of two!

Tapas have become a popular culinary trend far beyond its Mediterranean origins – deliciously tasty, order several to share while relaxing over a glass... or bottle... of wine. The wine list covers all the big regions, and again – it’s reasonable. We were delighted to enjoy our red wine in elegant, large–bowl wine glasses – I think it’s essential that the wine glass be large enough to swirl and generous enough to get your nose into! Nothing is more disappointing than trying to enjoy wine served in an unsuitable glass and filled to the top. But I digress, back to the tapas: succulent, bite–size and creative concoctions, they are the perfect way to open up your appetite and your conversation! Everything from, but not limited to Fish Ceviche, Stuffed Mushrooms, Prosciutto and Manchego Cheese, Coconut Shrimp, Spanish or Portuguese Chorizo, Baked Brie and our own perennial island favorite – Conch Fritters. My husband keenly eyed the Fried Calamari – he always enjoys those tender morsels smothered in crunchy batter – but I speak on behalf of our dining consortium when I say this particular calamari brought deep–fried squid to a whole new level. I reached for my customary ration to bring my thoughts and perspective to the dish, and I have to admit this was absolutely the best calamari I – or any of us – have experienced. We have never tasted squid this melt–in–your–mouth tender, and the batter was utterly light and exceptionally crispy. My customary ration quickly progressed into out–and–out larceny, enthusiastically encouraging everyone at the table to partake. I scored the Mussels – a dozen marvelous mollusks submerged in a velvety, rich and creamy white wine sauce, served with a basket of fabulous bread – the same crusty warm bread rolls that are served compliments of the house. Tear off a piece, and let a slab of butter melt into oblivion, or plunge and soak up the wonderful combination of EVOO and balsamic. Shrimp in a Cup is an ideal example of a Caribbean / Mediterranean marriage – a delightful shrimp Creole mixture is stuffed into a green plantain cup with the Creole offering up intense tomato flavours and just the right spice... this generous portion was deemed to be, “Excellent!” My favourite dining companion couldn’t resist the Clams Casino – particularly once we heard about their new signature stuffing – a delectable Mediterranean recipe that appears later on the entrée menu. Seven tender and luscious clams were nestled beneath a savoury and flavourful stuffing enhanced with smoky bacon and nutty parmesan cheese.

A photograph of Beef Wellington at Las Brisas Restaurant, Chalk Sound, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.Beef Wellington gets high praise at Las Brisas

A 2006 Joseph Phelps Merlot from the Napa Valley had everyone swirling and sniffing – intoxicated by the incredible aromas, deep colours and concentrated, robust flavours of, “Is that cinnamon?” Followed by, “I don’t know – my glass is empty.” And an immediate, “Bring more!”

A photograph of The Lemon Cheesecake at Las Brisas Restaurant, Chalk Sound, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.The Lemon Cheesecake at Las Brisas

I must admit that as soon as my Las Brisas mission was commissioned I called the Beef Wellington. My fellow diners knowingly chuckled as, just recently, they had dined at Las Brisas with visitors and ordered a round of four Beef Wellingtons. Let me be completely honest when I say I didn’t order it because it was something I had never tried – au contraire! I had experienced this incredible Wellington before and wanted to see if perfection could be achieved twice or, in my particular case, even thrice in a row! I was not to be disappointed – the portion size, as before, was extremely generous. The crust was absolutely flaky, and melted on my tongue, and the beef was to–die–for – perfectly prepared, medium–rare, and fork tender.

A photograph of Smooth and creamy Tiramisu with a cherry at Las Brisas Restaurant, Chalk Sound, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.Smooth and Creamy Tiramisu with a Cherry

Made–to–order entrées are offered with your preference of preparation techniques including: grilled, pan–fried, cracked, Creole – or the newest mode, baked and stuffed. Your choice of sauce includes wine, rosemary, lemon butter or mushroom. Now, choose two sides: jasmine rice, mashed, baked, French fries or Spanish fries, spaghetti, black beans, side salad, steamed vegetables or corn on the cob! If you are a diner beleaguered with indecision you’d better do your research ahead of time! Check out page 85 of the 2011 Providenciales Dining Guide!

My husband opted for the Snapper, baked and stuffed – always taking unreserved pleasure in any opportunity to enjoy our local fish. The moist, delicate and mild fish flavours were kicked up with the savoury stuffing, while the earthy mushroom sauce added quite an appealing perspective to this self–created dish. ‘Tis the season – so two gorgeous lobsters made their appearance across the table – also baked and stuffed. Sporadic observations proliferated the otherwise silent atmosphere ranging from, “Oh wow, this is fabulous,” to “Very, very, very tender.” When I asked my favourite dining companion if she could possibly finish this colossal crustacean, she replied with an unequivocal, “I’m not taking this home!” The entrée menu is brimming with meat and seafood selections including a 20 oz. T–bone steak, Rack of Lamb, and a Seafood Bouillabaisse. If you’re in the mood to share the ultimate in Mediterranean cuisine – the Paella is remarkable.

A photograph of a catered cruises across the Chalk Sound National Park from Las Brisas Restaurant, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.Ask about sunset or catered pontoon cruises across the Chalk Sound National Park

The menu goes on and on to offer two soups; a noteworthy selection of salads; baskets of fish, conch or chicken fingers; several sandwiches including a BBQ or Chimichurri shredded pork; four pastas; baked–to–order Specialty Pizzas and of course, a Kid’s Corner! After dinner indulgences are sweet, numerous and delightful.

Las Brisas invites you to make a day of it and take in the peace and tranquility poolside or on the beach; get up close and personal with Chalk Sound and take a cruise aboard their pontoon boat – a 2–hour guided day or sunset tour. For the more physically inclined, work up an appetite as you float above this almost surreal, natural aqueous phenomenon kayaking in single or double kayaks, paddle boats, or a canoe – all available for rent. While virtually everyone who visits these shores will experience dining on Grace Bay – expand your holiday horizons and treat yourself to a taste of the south side.

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