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Mahogany House Part 2:  The Food

This post is continued from "Embracing His Game," a story about the chef of Mahogany House restaurant in The Bahamas.

Chef Dan and I settled on stools at the bar's corner for the interview. We discussed the essence of Mahogany House restaurant as well as his own culinary philosophy. He's an advocate of simplicity and fresh ingredients in cooking. Though he has access to irresistible sweets at home (his wife is a pastry chef), he doesn't touch them. He prefers desserts that bring forth natural sweetness like grilled peaches.

In between our leisurely chat, he'd get up to greet guests walking in for lunch, or he'd reply to staff members asking him quick questions. He was showing me his wedding photo when two of his top-selling menu items turned up in front of us.

I sampled the appetizer first and was immediately impressed after tasting only a small portion.

"OMG. This is amazing!" I exclaimed and pointed to the pork belly. He tried to hide a smile but the glint in his eyes couldn’t conceal his pride.

The Buffalo Pork Belly appetizer is a definite must-try.

This is a killer appetizer: the Buffalo Pork Belly (a creative variation of buffalo chicken wings) with bleu cheese dressing complemented with pickled celery and carrots.

The pork belly is masterfully smoked for six hours then braised for an additional four. When deep-fried to order, the result is an unbelievably succulent pork belly with a perfect bit of crisp on the outside. It was oozing with that unmistakable buffalo chicken wing flavor. Listed under "Bites" or small plates category of the menu, this serving is meant for sharing. Oh, but this is one appetizer I'm not willing to split with anyone.

Next, he introduced me to Mahogany House's best-selling entrée: the Blackened Snapper in chili butter sauce, served with prawn and polenta (a playful twist on shrimp ‘n’ grits), garnished with grilled scallion.

Mahogany House's showstopper: Blackened Snapper

This is outstanding. With just the right touch of spiciness, this dish is rich, elegant, and above all, comforting. Every delicious bite commands another. It is light and exceptionally satisfying. Interestingly, Chef Dan says it is the most popular item on the menu and the easiest to execute.

Ultimately, it's the food that makes or break a restaurant. After seeing the true stars of the show here, it's plain to see why their clientele clamor for an encore. I've been to some highly rated restaurants on the island but their offerings didn't excite me. Studying the interesting menu at Mahogany House, I found that there's something for everyone -- from mouthwatering starters, tasty yet healthy soups and salads, all-time favorite pizza and pasta, to savory main dishes. The duck confit manicotti on the menu caught my eye. I'm definitely coming back for that one.

Chef Dan getting ready to chill the braised pork belly
Chef Dan setting out the duck confit

"And what about wine?" you might ask. More on that in the next post called "A Pleasant Surprise."

Mahogany House is one of three dining options at The Island House, located in Mahogany Hill on Western Road (found on the west side of New Providence Island, The Bahamas.) Just outside the exclusive Lyford Cay Club, it is about a 10-minute drive from Lynden Pindling International Airport.

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