The Monterey Peninsula is home to a mish-mosh “cuisine” that fuses Pacific Rim and Caribbean tourist trap favorites into a tropical island style of food that one might find at beach resorts. Burgers, ribs, sweet potato fries, fish tacos, and jerk chicken, jazzed up with gratuitous sweetness, mango, wasabi, hoisin sauce, salsa, coconut, or soy sauce pepper the typical menu. Now-closed Billy Quon’s led this pack, and lives on as Bahama Billy’s in Carmel. Hula’s in Monterey and Kula Ranch in Marina represent this genre, and now Bahama Grille in Salinas weighs in.
Located kitty-korner from City Hall, Bahama Grille opened last year. The interior is simpler instead of the tiki bar kitsch featured by its brethren. Serving beer and wine only, no parasol-decorated cocktails here either. Jamaica’s Red Stripe is the featured beer.
Mom and I gave it try last month for an early dinner. A basket of warm tortilla chips dusted with a sugary spice blend were offered up while we looked at the menus.
Mom tried the Fish & chips, $13.95. The fish was a bit overcooked but still enjoyable and a generous serving size. Not sure I like parmesan sprinkled on my fries but the skinny French fries themselves were good. We didn't like the weepy ginger-flavored slaw.
I had the Blackened mahi-maji after confirming with the owner that the fish was fresh and not frozen. Cooked medium-rare as ordered, the thick filet of mahi was quite delicious and meaty-textured. The wasabi mashed potatoes, made in a rustic and lumpy style, went way overboard with powerful wasabi. The broccoli & carrots sauteed with garlic were tasty. This was quite a nice seafood plate for $15.95. I’d order it again, but ask the kitchen to tone down the wasabi or substitute something else.
The highlight of the meal, however, was an excellent piece of key lime pie, $4.95. The fluorescent lighting messed up the color in this photo, believe me, it’s much more appetizing than this appears. Housemade in a tall-sided springform pan, the buttery graham cracker crust baked up crunchy and deep to contain the well-endowed key lime filling and whipped cream.
Mom reports that when she returned with my sister, the key lime pie wasn’t fully set and not nearly as good. Still, I’d go back to see if key lime pie goodness will strike again.
42 W Gabilan St, Salinas, CA 93901