Gansevoort’s Turks + Caicos hotel restaurants serve up West Indian and Asian-inspired cuisine.
By Sarah Sullivan
The infinity pool at Gansevoort Turks + Caicos (above.)
The Turks and Caicos Islands don’t just boast crystal-clear waters, pristine sandy beaches and overwhelmingly colorful coral reefs. They’re also a destination for foodies who enjoy locally sourced Caribbean cuisine. Stelle Restaurant and Zest, the two restaurants on site at Gansevoort’s Turks + Caicos hotel, offer West Indies-inspired flavors and fish reeled in straight off the line.
Stelle’s indoor and outdoor seating give diners a choice of a gourmet dinner by the pool or a seated dinner inside. There’s even the option of dining on a private floating island for a romantic meal. Executive Chef Joel Vallar, who began working at the luxury resort in 2015, has combined traditional Filipino influences with Caribbean classics. Think tuna tartare with yuzu and togarashi, and grilled rack of lamb with ginger breadcrumbs. The menu features traditional West Indies staples such as grouper and snapper, as well as Asian main courses such as beef rendang and green chicken curry. Desserts such as mango panna cotta and lemongrass crème brulée add a tropical twist at the end of the evening.
“I love incorporating the fresh, local ingredients of the destination into my culinary creations.”
Zest is a beachfront restaurant that fuses Mediterranean cuisine with Caribbean classics. Mahi mahi, spiny lobster, yellowfin tuna and conch ceviche are all on the menu. A Mediterranean flair graces seaside staples such as white pizza and caprese salad. Vallar’s Asian influences pervade appetizers such as Vietnamese Chicken Salad with nam prik dressing and Thai Rare Beef salad, but Caribbean fare such as Slow-Cooked Jamaican Spiced Curried Goat and Beef Pepperpot Stew root the menu in the islands’ rich culinary heritage.
“I love incorporating the fresh, local ingredients of the destination into my culinary creations,” says Vallar. “There is a limited but extremely high quality selection of locally caught food on Turks and Caicos, such as fresh fish, lobster and conch, and I love to use these to enhance our culinary offerings. Using these local ingredients also allows me to better showcase the Turks and Caicos Islands’ motto, beautiful by nature, in all of our dishes.” Vallar is so enamored with fresh seafood that he has launched a sushi-making class, held every week, that teaches guests how to make maki rolls and nigiri.
Accompanying Stelle and Zest’s gourmet meals is a robust and diverse selection of wine and cocktails chosen by Food and Beverage Manager Subhash Devadas. The bar includes specialty cocktails such as the Berrymosa, a champagne and fruit juice cocktail, and the cinnamon-pineapple-rum Kiss Me One More Time for dessert. The wine selection has been carefully curated to include both bold new tastes and classic favorites. “Our wine list is organized by flavor profile, varietal and theme,” says Devadas. “We engage our customers in a dialogue about the wine list in order to find out if they would like to go on a curated adventure with their selection for the evening or play it safe with well-recognized names and varietals. A great glass of wine is central to a great dining experience, and this is why we’ve selected a comprehensive sampling of the most important wine varietals for our wine list. We offer different varieties from allocated and collectable Cabernets from around the world, from Caymus Special Selection and Far Niente, to cult wines from the Grace Family Vineyards and boutique wines from Paul Hobbs and Wente.”