Vacation time is always the best time. Planning every part of your trip and then finally getting to experience everything you hoped for. This year, my girlfriends and I planned a last minute spontaneous trip to St. Martin with a stop in Anguilla. I of course was excited for all the food. The research started once my flight was booked, and did not stop until I felt we had more than enough options. I can get obsessive, so I had to really narrow down my list. At the top of my list were a few, but one kept reappearing, Le Santal.
Sitting on the beautiful beach of Sandy Ground St. Martin, Le Santal blew my expectations like no other restaurant has ever done before. We pulled up to the restaurant where the valet and hostess were waiting for us. Our car was taken to the parking lot and we were escorted to our table. Our table was overlooking the water, so beautiful so calming, we really enjoyed the view.
The restaurant is gorgeous. Elegantly decorated in whites and blues, it really feels as if you are on the beach. We glanced over the wine list, I decided on a Merlot by the glass while my friend decided she was drinking Cognac that night. Ok at that point I knew I was in for a wild night!
After carefully examining the menu and the specials, we knew exactly what we were ordering. We started off we the amuse bouche of the evening. The Chef had prepared a cold zucchini puree with a tangy dijon touch. We both loved this so much and knew we were in for a treat.
We ordered three appetizers because we could not make up our minds. We started with the tempura shrimps with a mango salsa. It was exactly what I expected and was very good, but as I had explained to my friend when we were deciding, there is nothing exciting about shrimp tempura. Don't get me wrong, I loved it, but there are other things I would have ordered, like the foie gras ...
Then came the dish I was most looking forward to, the morel ravioli in a white truffle sauce. Before the plate was served, we were brought spoons. I looked at the wonderful hostess/waitress and she giggled and said to trust her I was going to be happy she brought it. As soon as I took my first bite, I knew exactly what she meant. The sauce was so amazing and so plentiful, the spoon served as a perfect vessel to drink up every last drop. Wow, I never thought anything could taste as good as this dish did. The pasta was perfect, the mushrooms delicious and that sauce, divine! I wanted to cancel everything else and order an extra large bucket of this. I don't think they had any buckets but I am sure they would have gladly found something!
Next up we had the escargots. Cooked to perfection and served two ways, these critters were absolutely delicious. We had snails at many other restaurant on our trip and we both agreed that Le Santal's version was by far the best.
We relaxed and refilled our drinks for the third time at this point and enjoyed the beautiful view. It was so wonderful to sit and watch the waves wash up on the rocks, what a view. We chatted with the women serving us, they turned out to be mother and daughters. One of the daughters happens to be engaged to the chef and when they found out I was from Montreal they freaked. They were flying into Montreal the following week to escape the heat. Ha, could not understand that one.
After a nice break, it was time for our main courses. After much debate, we both decided to have the tenderloin and foie gras. I was hesitant as I always order steak and wanted to try something really special, but I was assured this was a great choice and boy was I right! I have never had such a deliciously juicy and tender piece of meat. It was cooked so perfectly, we both could not believe it. The foie gras just added that edge to make this dish perfection. The potatoes mopped up every last bit on the plate and then we both sat back satisfied beyond belief. Drinking the lasts sips of our fifth round, we could not stop talking about what we had just eaten.
As we enjoyed some house-made rum, paid our bill and said our good-byes, we could not help but feel sad. We had just experienced a life changing meal and after three hours it was all over. How were we going to ever enjoy food again? We drove back to Orient Bay and settled in at La Table d'Antoine for a few more rounds before turning in for the evening.
St. Maarten / St. Martin