Opus Wine Bar Grill Providenciales (Provo), Turks & Caicos Islands Reviewed January / February 2012
Opus Wine Bar Grill is located at The Ocean Club Plaza
Opus is the culinary collaboration of proprietors Tony Arata and Abby Marlow; their loyal and ever–growing following an undeniable testament to their exceptional and intuitive talents as successful restaurateurs. Boasting an unsullied reputation for a seamless dining experience, Opus delivers on all of the key elements; consistency in cuisine, affable and attentive service and a definitive quixotic vibe.
An air of sophistication and style can be experienced indoors at the cool and elegant mahogany bar – a popular meeting place where you can take pleasure in pre or post–dinner cocktails with dining beneath a striking vaulted ceiling in comfortable and intimate booths.
Outdoors, an almost magical and captivating mood prevails in the lush, tropical garden where candlelit tables are scattered beneath the majestic limbs of illuminated ficus trees. Diners are serenaded nightly by the agreeable arias of crickets; as well as live music with local artists on many evenings. This is the heart and soul of al fresco dining. A harmonious fusion of fabulous dishes, the Opus menu features Tasting Plate Appetizers, Soup and Salads, Entrées and a selection of ‘Tonight’s Specials’ often dominated by what Abby boasts is not only the most popular menu item, but also the house specialty – locally caught seafood. With Chef Rolin (Rollie) Almonte, a seasoned fisherman in his own right behind the scenes; you know it’s going to be expertly prepared; as Rollie is indeed the ‘skipper’ of the kitchen when it comes to fresh seafood!
Fresh Whole Roasted Snapper at Opus
While enjoying a complimentary plate of refreshingly lively and flavourful Brushetta, we mused over the abundance of appealing menu selections; creative and imaginative cuisine that only served to fuel our indecision. At times... okay... all the time, I just wish we could taste it all; by and large for journalistic integrity of course – and perhaps, just possibly, to satisfy and appease my own selfish culinary desires! Abby must have been psychic as she rose to the cause with an insightful and judicious proposal for our table to ‘taste’ several appetizers for a more comprehensive and all–inclusive ‘flavour’ of Opus.
And what better way to kick off this epicurean pursuit than with one of the bastions of island fare, Caicos Red Conch Chowder. This award–winning, rich, thick, chunky soup ate more like a heartwarming stew; delightfully spiced with plenty of vegetables, beans and big, tender pieces of conch. Grilled pineapple added a fabulously engaging and delicate touch to the Coconut Tempura Shrimp; a sweet and sour dipping sauce created the ideal union. Speaking of unions, this combination was a match made in heaven – Caramelized Pear with Gorgonzola Cheese, Baby Arugula and Walnuts. The pear was incredibly tender and sweet and the pungent bite of the gorgonzola was fabulous – peppery arugula added a remarkable element while the walnuts gave this bevy of textures great crunch. I have to admit, this is one extraordinary salad. A Lime and Soy dipping sauce and a marvelous wasabi kick gave the Yellow Fin Tuna Spring Rolls an all–around thumbs–up; perfectly rare inside and crispy outside. Lobster Spring Rolls were an Appetizer Special; generously stuffed with luscious lobster and accompanied with a Citrus–Chili Dipping Sauce with a deliciously detectable hint of sesame oil.
Fresh Wahoo with Mango Salsa at Opus
A brief respite allowed us the opportunity to extol the virtues not only of our kismet in procuring this out–and–out smorgasbord; but also to appreciate our first wine selection. A 2006 Sonoma Cutrer Pinot Noir from California was hailed to be ‘very fruity’ and a great match to the all–embracing myriad of ‘tastings’ thus far. The ‘largest wine list on the island’ was commended for being grouped by the grape variety – rather than the country; as well as offering of an impressive list of Pinot Noirs and a wide price range.
A Sesame Oil and Citrus Marinade made this Conch Ceviche uniquely flavorful. With a pronounced emphasis on the sesame flavour and an underlying citrus tang featuring lime, lemon and orange this was really a distinctively different and admired adaptation. The Vine Ripened Tomatoes filled with Fresh Mozzarella was a veritable ‘blossom’ of freshness and simplicity with a divine Kalamata Pesto Vinaigrette that added just the ideal pizzazz to the delicate mozzarella and tomato flavours. Last, we pay homage and reverence to the Opus Caesar... Tony’s special Caesar recipe whose beginnings originated on the back of a napkin. We queried if Tony was still the ruler of the romaine to which Abby quipped, “Back when I used to let him in the kitchen”; but today it’s Chef Rollie wielding the sanctified salad servers. We could pick out the individual ingredients in the smooth and creamy dressing; and I for one was smitten with the anchovies; nice and firm with a texture like smoked fish. Tony’s venerated recipe was hailed from across the table, “That is a nice Caesar”; a heartfelt accolade indeed coming from the reputed ‘King’of Caesar’s!
A 2008 Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir from Oregon was selected to pair with our Entrée selections; a nice transition from the Cutrer with a bit more body. Definitively savoury with berry, plum and black cherry notes with a lovely and lingering finish.
Opus Features Live Music Under the Trees Several Nights a Week
From the looks of ‘Tonight’s Specials’ the fishermen had been most fortuitous today. Two tempting catches included a Filet of Snapper with a feisty Cherry Tomato, Cucumber and Cilantro Salsa; and a Whole Snapper, Poached in Ginger Broth and Glazed with Sweet Soy and Chinese Vinegar Sauce. Abby, a passionate ‘whole fish’ aficionado cheerfully confessed, “I like to play with my food!” Curious as to how ‘whole’ the whole snapper was, she affirmatively acknowledged that yes, all the anatomy was included, “The head, the tail and everything in between!” She teasingly revealed that when the vestiges on the plate go back to the kitchen – they’ll know if you’re a pro – intimating their anticipated return of a plate bearing only cartoon–like, skeletal remains! My husband embraced the ‘whole’ challenge that enthusiastically began with a “Look at that!”
The Asian–inspired flavours were a wonderful complement to the delicate and mild fish that literally fell off the bones; successfully concluding with an apparent nod of skillful recognition from the kitchen! Across the table, Mahi–Mahi with Shitake Mushroom–Tarragon Butter was served ‘en Papillote’ with sautéed vegetables and light and fluffy Jasmine Rice. En Papillote is simply ‘in parchment’, the fish and sauce tightly wrapped in a paper ‘parcel’ and baked, trapping the moisture which essentially steams the fish. A dramatic presentation; but more importantly, “this fish is fantastic; very moist”. A Rare–Seared Tuna over Grilled Bok Choy and Jasmine Rice with a Rum, Citrus and Soy Dipping Sauce was applauded for the sauces’ harmonizing qualities. Grilling the bok choy made it tender and sweetly caramelized. At first enticed by the Island Grown Mint Pesto, the New Zealand Rack of Lamb was lovely and tender; beautifully balanced with each divine dollop of the clean, fresh mint pesto flavours.
Rounding out the Entrée selections are a Shrimp and Vegetable Penne Pasta; Pan–Fried Filet of Atlantic Salmon with Dill Lime Sauce; Red Thai Chicken and Vegetable Curry; Jerk Pork Tenderloin; and a to–die–for Bone–In Ribeye with a Mushroom Cognac Cream Sauce and Black Angus Filet of Beef with a Green Peppercorn Sauce.
Fresh Caicos Lobster Tails are a Specialty
Indulge your sweet tooth with Caribbean Rum Cake with Caramel Sauce; Individually baked Apple Tart; Dark and Decadent Truffle Torte and Key Lime Pie or there are always lavish and lascivious libations for dessert. The Opus Specialty Coffee is a luscious blend with Grand Marnier and Frangelico; or take pleasure in a decadent After–Dinner Martini, Espresso or Liqueur.
If you’re a rum enthusiast; be prepared to wallow in an impressive selection of over 50 rums from the Caribbean and South America. Can’t decide? Fasten your seatbelt and take a flight – a flight of rum! Now, that’s my kind of travel! I wonder if they have a ‘frequent flyer’ program.
It was a rare and extraordinary set of circumstances that brought about an occasion of serendipity verging on déjà vu for my husband and I, where we found ourselves dining at Opus three times in as many weeks... pleasantly surprised and cheerfully amused to glimpse several familiar faces boasting the same triple track record as our own! Need I say more?
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- Contact details for Opus Wine Bar Grill
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