Bringing A Taste of The Tropics To Northwoods Mall
Jeff Walker, Restaurant Review
While Bahama Breeze Island Grille at Northwoods Mall is about 30 minutes from the nearest beaches in greater Charleston, the popular eatery owned by the Darden Group (Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse) is bringing a taste or the islands to the north area. What can be best described as a surfside cabana meets roadside bar & grill, Bahama Breeze is a come as you are, laid back restaurant serving up the five S’s, (soup, salad, sandwiches, seafood, & steak), as well as awesome appetizers, chicken, pork, and desserts that fit the theme.
If the eclectic menu doesn’t blow you away, offering up something for everyone, than the half price appetizers and incredible adult beverages during their 4-6pm weekday happy hour just might. Honestly everything on the menu is affordably priced, which makes date night or a special family outing all the more better. Aside from several steak and unique pasta dishes, almost every entree falls between $11 and $18.
The Applewood Bacon & Cheddar Burger with a choice of side will set you back $10.50. Not bad for a juicy half pound burger that comes with ambiance fast food joints lack. Looking to save a few dollars and still enjoy an epic meal, try any of the handhelds. The Coconut Shrimp or Blackened Mahi Tacos will titillate the senses, as will the Jerk Chicken or Cuban Sandwich. They carry that ‘I just took a trip to the Caribbean’ sensation. All under $12. Counting calories? They’re listed on the menu.
The New Jerk Shrimp or Chicken Bowl is as zesty as you’ll get at Bahama Breeze. Your choice of shrimp or chicken presented in a carved out pineapple shell. A welcome blend of white rice, fruits and veggies, swirled around plump pieces of chicken or tender shrimp in their own sweet pineapple jerk glaze. It will delight the taste-buds.
Perhaps you came in Bahama Breeze in full island mode. I suggest the Jamaican Stuffed Plantain Bowl, a whole sweet plantain caramelized to perfection, stuffed with yellow rice, spicy ground beef, and surrounded by a hearty black bean sauce and shredded cheese. Simply a taste of the tropics, and a diversion from the norm!
Seafood lovers have a half dozen signature entrees to satisfy their cravings. Maybe order the Grilled Salmon or its zestier cousin Tequila Sunburn Glazed Salmon (grilled salmon w/ a Tequila Sunburn glaze topped with pineapple-mango salsa, served with cinnamon mashed sweet potatoes and green beans). Both just $18.49. The Lobster & Shrimp Linguine tossed with mushrooms in a lobster cream sauce tops the menu list at $21.99. An ample serving for the price.
Eating light? The Bahamian Seafood Chowder (creamy melange of shellfish & veggies), or the Cuban Black Bean Soup with creamy cilantro ring in under $5, and less than 470 calories for the bowl size portion. Their three trademark salads eat like a meal, including the Tropical Chicken Salad teeming with a fresh pineapple, red grapes, strawberries, mandarin oranges, goat cheese, and candied almonds over greens before it’s drizzled in Island vinaigrette.
What many will find most appealing, as well as appetizing, are the drink and light bites on full display during the weekday happy hour from 4-6pm. $3 for 14 oz. draft beers, with 20 oz. brews and well drinks (including vodka, rum, tequila, whiskey & gin) for just $4. Enjoy an Ultimate Piña Colada, the Mojito Cubano, or their signature Frozen Bahamarita for just a buck more. A few of their Island Cocktails are ‘wait for it’, legendary, much like the Bahama Mama.
All appetizers are half off during happy hour and again after 9pm. If you like a app that eats like a meal, I recommend the Whole Jamaican Jerk Wings. First introduced in 1996 they have become a BB favorite. Plump oversized wings served crispy on the outside and succulent on the inside. They are a handful, and complement the zesty jerk BBQ sauce that accompany them.
Dropping by after work with your gal pals or best buds, the Skillet-Simmered Jerk Shrimp, oversized shrimp in garlic-thyme butter served with warm Cuban bread is easy to share, as are the Conch Fritters (think of them as Jamaican hush puppies). A half dozen lightly seasoned, pop in your mouth treats complete with their own special dipping sauce. The fritters or the popular Yuca Cheese Sticks (melted mozzarella served with a cilantro-crema and Sriracha aioli blend are just $3 during happy hour.
Bringing the whole family in, and worried there is nothing for the fussy eaters. Bahama Breeze has a unique kids menu featuring four home run dishes. What kid doesn’t like hamburger sliders or chicken fingers. If your youngsters have a more upscale palate, the Bow-Tie Mac n’ Cheese or the Chicken Breast complete with fruit and a choice of broccoli or fries might be a healthier option. No worries, they are just $6.49 with drink included. That’s nice.
There are a few gluten free and vegetarian options. Salads and entrees you can customize. Bahama Breeze have four family bundles that feed four easily, or five if you eat light, with the cost around $12.50 per person. Rebecca’s Key Lime Pie and the ultra decadent Chocolate Island (chocolate mousse on a fudge brownie island drenched in chocolate sauce & vanilla bean anglaise), are a great way to drop anchor on your island dining excursion.
The overall feel at Bahama Breeze has that just stepped off a cruise ship and I’m enjoying a meal on Key West. The motif carries a beach theme. It’s light and airy, with an array of pastel colors. It sets a nice tone while dining. On the weekends if you drop in for dinner, and you’re enjoying your meal on the covered patio, you might catch a guitarist offering up songs of yesteryear with a hint of calypso, reggae and soft rock.
The answer to most of your questions is Yes! Yes you can order on-line. Yes you can get takeout. Yes you can make reservations. They are a new kid on the restaurant block so they are extremely busy. I would call ahead, or check their website https://www.bahamabreeze.com/menu-listing/food for availability.
Take a trip to the tropics any day of the week. Bahama Breeze Island Grille is open 4pm until 11pm Monday thru Thursday, 4pm until midnight on Friday, Saturday 11-midnight, and 11am until 11pm on Sunday. Located at 7811 Rivers Ave near Burke’s Outlet at Northwoods Mall. Enjoy!