Zozo's Ristorante, St. John, USVI - May 9, 2007
Gallow's Point Resort
St. John, USVI
Danna and I split from the pack for dinner on our fifth night on St. John. The previous nights dinners were mostly barbecue-driven (steak, salmon, burgers, etc.) - which makes perfectly good sense because the main house (there were three houses we rented for about 20 people) had a great grill set up, a monster kitchen, and views of Francis Bay and sunsets over St. Thomas. But, being the food blogger that I am, I wanted to see what the island had to offer.
Parking is limited on the island, so the restaurant had a valet of sorts. Basically a big, imposing man asking me for my keys after I'd already found parking. Fine. We walk upstairs and the owner or manager is sweeping through the restaurant and heading to the kitchen but takes the time to kindly let us know that he'll be right with us - then proceeds to yell at the kitchen staff for what seemed to be either slow firing of plates, mistakes or simply poor cooking. A red flag for sure.
We didn't have a reservation, and though the main restaurant was booked, he offered us a table upstairs in the Jax Bar - featuring the same menu as downstairs. This was great. We sat at the long bar overlooking Cruz Bay and St. Thomas just at the tail end of the sunset and got served some good bread with olive oil by a friendly bartender. The simplest and easiest things mean the world to me when done well. Our bartender poured us some good olive oil, cracked some fresh pepper and salt in it and served it to us with the bread. This takes little to no effort, but it is amazing how few restaurants provide such a nice and simple offering.
We ordered some wines and then moved on to the meal. I started with the littleneck clams in a sun dried tomato pesto served with grilled garlic crostini and lemon pinot grigio brodo ($14). Delicious. Truly a solid dish.
Danna had no problem finishing her endive and radicchio salad that was served with fontina cheese, apples and red grapes in a citrus mascarpone vinaigrette ($13).
For entrees, I was torn. I'd been eating meat practically all week but desperately craved the osso buco on the menu. Instead, I went the seafood route and ordered the Caribbean lobster tail served with due colore orzo, wheat berries, tarragon and truffle crab butter ($36) and couldn't have been happier. The crustacean was cooked perfectly. It seems as though I got the last order of it, so the new guy at the bar to my right was forced to try the osso buco. It looked and smelled terrific when it was later served to him, but I was still happy with my decision.
Danna ordered the special swordfish dish which was a steak oven roasted with a peppery polenta crust. It was an interesting dish. Not her favorite - so we switched and I finished the swordfish while she ate the rest of the lobster. I don't recall the price of that dish.
We were stuffed (all that rum is enough) so we skipped dessert and coffee but enjoyed several glasses of wine while watching the lights of St. Thomas and the sky fade to black. Worth a visit.