Bahama Breeze I-Drive
Bahama Breeze Island Grille, part of the Darden family, has recently introduced five new rice bowls on their menu. They also have half off appetizers from 10pm to close, Sunday through Thursday. I can’t say I’m a big fan of chain restaurants but Bahama Breeze has really grown on me. The tropical atmosphere, the large open space, the music, it’s a quick break away from things (despite being right on I-drive).
The great thing about this happy hour deal is that it is half off all the appetizers. Not just some but all. So, you have 16 options available. The appetizers here are generously portioned so it’s definitely great for sharing. I ordered the Jumbo Lump Crab Stack and the Tostones with Chicken. For the dieters out there, the Jumbo Lump Crab Stack is only 6 grams of fat and all full of flavor. I loved the lump crab meat mixed in with the apple-mango salsa. The different notes of sweetness from the mango and the crispness from the Granny Smith apple worked really well. The chilled shrimp was a good addition too. There was a little bit of avocado mixed in but not much. Served with 2 flatbread crisps.
The Tostones with Chicken unfortunately wasn’t low fat. A total of 63 grams of fat for the whole serving. Twice fried plantains, chicken, cheese, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and tomato salsa. Yeah, 63 grams is pretty plausible. Nonetheless, it’s a good appetizer although you’ll want to make sure to disperse the toppings evenly. Some bites were more cheesy versus others having all the peppers. These were some large tostones!
As I had mentioned before, Bahama Breeze has five new rice bowls in addition to their West Indies Chicken Curry. Shrimp Creole, Carnitas, Chipotle Beef, Vegetarian Asian Tofu, and Asian Chicken & Vegetable. Sorry Bahama Breeze, I’m not going to go for the Asian inspired dishes. After all, it is a ‘Caribbean and Latin’ place. A friend I managed to drag along ordered the Carnitas Rice Bowl and I ordered the Chipotle Beef Bowl. Each rice bowl had essentially the same components: rice, beans, proteins and some sort of sauce. It sounded very heavy and turns out I was right.
The Carnitas Rice Bowl ($13.49) consisted of yellow rice, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), roasted pork, chorizo, sweet plantains, and corn topped with a cumin-citrus sauce. Lots of nice flavors going on, especially the sweet plantains. MMMM… The slow roasted pork, the fresh corn, the chorizo. Yeah buddy… The garbanzo beans didn’t really add much to it. I mean, it was still good with it but if it was omitted, I wouldn’t have been upset. The yellow rice was alright. Not bad but it was on the verge of being overcooked. To the point of where the rice grains are a mere few minutes away from being puffy. Overall, a very tasty dish.
The Chipotle Beef Rice Bowl ($14.99) consisted of basmati rice, sautéed beef sirloin, black beans, corn, and cheese topped with a chipotle sauce, sour cream, salsa and avocado. Boy, that was a mouthful. Presentation-wise, it didn’t look so appetizing. The components looked like it was haphazardly thrown in there. Flavor-wise, it was ok. The steak was good and tender, I enjoyed the fresh corn. You could see the corn stuck together in both dishes. The basmati rice was done properly here. If you haven’t had basmati rice before, I’d describe it as a lighter, fluffy long grain rice. The grains don’t stick to each other, it’s ‘loose’ in a way. Needless to say, I was a bigger fan of the carnitas rice bowl. Don’t get me wrong, this was still a decent dish but it’s more expensive and not as flavorful for me. I really wouldn’t have minded some ancho chiles in this dish, give it a little push with the flavor.
I think if you took the toppings from the carnitas rice bowl and put it with the basmati rice, it’d be a winner. Also, these rice bowls are huge! I know you can’t really tell from the pictures but these rice bowls are very big. If Bahama Breeze offered a Rice Bowl Pick 2 or 3, and have smaller portions, that’d be awesome. So then you get to taste different dishes. All in all, the rice bowls were good and super filling but not something I’d regularly order.
Fav entrées of the night: The Jumpo Lump Crab Stack and the Carnitas Rice Bowl.
Some people may consider Bahama Breeze a bit pricier than they’d like to spend but come during the “Late Night Happy Hour”. Half off all appetizers. You really can’t beat that.
Random note: The Bahama Breeze website has recipes for some of the dishes on the menu (such as the mango-apple salsa).
Sunday – Thursday: 11:00 A.M. – 1:00 A.M.
Friday – Saturday: 11:00 A.M. – 1:30 A.M.
Late Night Happy Hour
Sunday – Thursday: 10:00 P.M. – Close
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