After being impressed over and over by The Blue Window Restaurant at the Jamaica Pegasus, whether it’s their sizzling Tuesday night Grill by the pool, their Sunday Brunch, a regular dinner night or their catering for various functions in the building, I had a small amount of doubt when I heard about Italian night. Most restaurants in Jamaica that claim to offer Italian cuisine are hardly ever authentic, thinking that cooking store-bought pasta with any type of cheese is enough. I have Toscanini Italian Restaurant and Bar in Ocho Rios as the most reputable, authentic Italian restaurant on the island. Evita’s Italian Restaurant, also in Ocho Rios, has had its ups and downs. Huge, positive difference when Eva Myers is present. Caffé da Vinci in Kingston has been doing well recently as well.
Last Thursday, my fiancé and I arrived at Italian night at 8:15pm and I was eager to see what was on the menu. The restaurant had a homey, Mediterranean Old World, Italian Style decor with light Italian music in the background and red and white plaid table cloth decor topped off by centrepieces consisting of candles in wine bottles. The place was also buzzing with diners.
We were seated and instantly I saw on the menu that diners have two options, Soup and the Antipasto station a.k.a Buffet for $2000JMD or the Full Dinner Buffet for $2700JMD, i.e., Soup, the Antipasto Station, a choice of Entrée and Dessert. Prices mentioned exclude GCT and service charge.
Dwight was our server for the night. He was well trained, pleasant and knowledgeable of the menu and wines available for the night. Of course, we went with the Full Dinner Buffet.
We started off with Minestrone soup and a Roasted Garlic Cream Soup with Spicy Croutons. The Minestrone soup consisted of vegetables, with the addition of pasta. Other recognisable ingredients that were common to the Italian origin included beans, onions, tomatoes and parmesan cheese. The broth was not as thick as it should have been but the soup had a nice flavour and was a great start to dinner.
The Roasted Garlic Cream Soup was also tasty and the garlic was not overpowering to make you feel like you needed to pop a breath mint every minute.
Then, to the Antipasto Station we went! Suga knows Italian staple foods and had her eyes peeled. My desire for a suitable array of authentic Italian cuisine was more than satisfied. What a variety!
● A Turkey Pastrami platter
● Grilled yellow squash
● Grilled red onions – tasty!
● Anchovies – Expected intense, salty flavour
● Rockefeller Garlic crumbled Mussels – I loved it, but for persons like my beau who prefer mussels moist and more plain, it wouldn’t be a favourite
● Pepper jack and Olives Flatbread
● Smoked Salmon and Marlin along side a Cheese and Fruit platter
● Bruschetta – delish!
● Jerked sausage
● Grilled vegetables such as carrot and zucchini
● Prosciutto (Ham) -the real deal Italian ham (used on Italian Gourmet pizzas as well). Lovely, succulent, unique taste
Everything was of high quality and would certainly leave you satisfied if you chose the Soup and Antipasto Station option.
For the Entrees, it was hard to choose from Pollo Rotolo e Prosciutto (Chicken wrapped in Ham), Canneloni Agnello (Pasta shell stuffed with Minced Lamb with a Plum Tomato Sauce), Bistecca Alla Griglia (New York Steak topped with Garlic butter), Gamberetto Alfredo (Skewered Shrimp with Linguini Pasta in a Mushroom Cream Sauce) or a Mini Pasta Posto. Mini Pasta Posto? What? Imagine, if you weren’t satisfied with what you saw on the menu you could head over to a station and have them create your own Pasta dish using Penne or Linguini, a choice of Chicken, Shrimp, Meatballs or Vegetables topped off by a Marinara, Pesto or Alfredo sauce.
We went with the Gamberetto Alfredo and the Canneloni Agnello. The serving size of the Gamberetto Alfredo was huge compared to the Canneloni Agnello. I couldn’t finish it. I could actually try since I have a fast metabolism but that would be gluttonous and leave me feeling quite uncomfortable. The taste? Oh boy. Everybody can do Shrimp and Pasta but these Shrimps were well seasoned and had a unique taste with a kick to it and the alfredo was divine with a soft garlic bread on the side, all paired well with my Chardonnay. The taste of the Minced Lamb was pronounced in the Canneloni Agnello, an indication that very fresh lamb was used and the flavour was savoury.
Throughout the night, the staff were very attentive, coming around to either check if everything was ok, give advice or seek feedback. It wasn’t an ‘in your face’ kind of vibe either, they were polite and stayed as long as you invited them to. Very refreshing to see and experience.
What else could we ask for that night? Well, the majority of Italian staples were covered especially the ones I went specifically for, such as the Prosciutto (Ham), Cheese, Wine, Pizza/Flatbread, Squash, Zucchini and Pasta. However, I did not see any Risotto. I was quickly put at ease when Executive Chef Mark Cole, who cooked for President Obama visited the table. He is also just returning from Miami with a gold medal from The Taste of the Caribbean competition of which he was team manager and coach for Jamaica’s team. He informed me that the menu for Italian night changes about every month or two and a Risotto dish will actually be on the revised menu this August. I was delighted to hear.
I suppose throughout the year they play around with the different pastas as well, such as Ravioli, Lasagna, Spaghetti and much more. Seeing Tortellini (a navel shaped pasta usually stuffed with cheese, pork or prosciutto) on the menu would be interesting as well.
Gnocchi, soft dough dumplings usually made from semolina, ordinary wheat flour, egg, cheese, potato, breadcrumbs or similar ingredients would be another interesting dish to see. The Antipasto Station would probably include Boiled Eggs, Pell Peppers, Salami and Bologna in the future. But of course, you cannot get everything all at once! The layout and variety was impressive, perfect and more than sufficient.
Then to think Dessert followed! Italian cuisine includes decadent dessert as well. Zeppole (a donut filled usually with custard and jelly) was not a choice that night but I had a lovely Panna Cotta served with a duet of Cranberries and Blueberries and an extremely divine Tiramisu. One of the best I have ever had. Tiramisu is the most popular Italian dessert. Fantastic end to the dinner!
Italian Night Dinner Buffet is held at The Blue Window Restaurant, Jamaica Pegasus every Thursday night from 6:30pm-10:30pm and Reservations are recommended (Call 876-926-3690). Great for family outings and date nights.