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Shoreside Review

Cruzin’ Bar & Grill in Carrot Bay  –  The Carrot Bay breeze shakes the seed pods of the three large mother-in-law trees that provide shade for the outdoor seating area at Cruzin’ Bar and Grill. The pods’ percussive rattle accompanies the classic reggae music coming from the speakers behind the bar.  A few waves ripple against the shore, adding a layer of ambient sound, interrupted by a thunk thunk thunk from the kitchen—Chef Lena’s knife rhythmically chopping fresh vegetables.

On a sunny Thursday afternoon, I sit at Cruzin’ with Chris Watters and Emma Paull from the Royal BVI Yacht Club and Mason Marcus and Dan O’Connor from the BVI Beacon. We sip our perfectly iced soft drinks and admire the perfectly azure sea. I call it the summer sea—when the water seems lit up from below.

We peruse the chalkboard menu which changes daily based on the local, fresh ingredients available to Lena. Options abound for vegetarians, pescatarians and meat eaters. After we order from our attentive waitress Melissa, I stroll over to the gift shop. Coconut birdfeeders, shell-trimmed tote bags and paintings by local artists nestle on shelves among flip flops, BVI baseball caps and island greeting cards. A small table hosts a delicate collection of antique china teacups. I head back toward the table but first stop and browse the potted plants for sale—most likely replanted cuttings from the well tended garden on the grounds. Lena’s son William swings on a hammock chair nearby. Everything about Cruzin’ relaxes.

 

I rejoin the others as our food arrives. Emma’s deep bowl of spicy lemon chicken salad ($15.00) is served with romaine lettuce, halved cherry tomatoes, red onions, toasted French bread and strips of grilled chicken. Both Dan’s grilled shark steak ($18.00) and Mason’s veggie roti ($16.00) come with side salads and a generous helping of rice. Refried beans, sour cream, salsa and guacamole garnish my spinach and onion quesadilla ($8.00). Chris’s hand-patted cheeseburger ($10.00) rests beside a decent portion of hand-cut French fries. Since I’d heard about Lena’s grilled pizza, I had to order one for everyone to share. And we do.

The pizza goes fast. The homemade crust is grilled on each side then topped with the freshest vegetables. A typical veggie pizza at most restaurants comes with mushrooms, olives, green peppers and onions. This pizza is not typical. Piled on it are the freshest squash, zucchini, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, onions, local peppers, herbs, sauce and cheese. “A medley of vegetables,” Emma says in her best restaurant reviewer voice.

Mason loves the roti and its “good coconut curry taste,” so I hop over and try it. Yum. The chutney on top complements the spicy vegetables inside. “I like a roti that makes me sweat,” Mason says as he blots his brow. Emma concurs about the level of heat at Cruzin’. “When they say spicy, they aren’t kidding,” she says of her spicy lemon chicken salad which she proclaims has “a massive amount of chicken.”

 

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Dan doesn’t say much about the shark steak, mainly because his mouth is full when I ask him if it’s good. He nods and shovels in another bite. I turn to Chris to ask about his burger and see that it’s gone. “A homemade patty? A toasted bun? Fries that were never frozen? Perfect,” he says. While eating my cheesy and overstuffed spinach and onion quesadilla, I tell myself the drive to West End seems much shorter, and I look forward to making many return trips.

Cruzin’ serves lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Each night has a different theme: West Indian on Tuesday, Tex-Mex on Wednesday, Curry Night on Thursday, Steak Night on Friday, Italian Night on Saturday and Seafood Night on Sunday. But grilled pizza is always available—lunch or dinner. Call Lena  at (284) 446-6201 for reservations or carry out orders. Also visit www.cruzins.com.  

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