Unfortunately Deon’s is currently closed. We will update this post when we receive more information. ~HungryNative.com
Now in its third season in Oak Bluffs, Deon’s restaurant is located at the bottom of Circuit Avenue, in the building that many Islanders know as “The old A&P”. They specialize in Caribbean fusion cuisine and have a great selection of tropical-style cocktails including Rum Punch and Limbo Love.
Shortly after sitting down, we were presented with a basket of warm wheat bread, served with Deon’s house-made hummus. The bread had a dark crust and a soft, mildly sweet interior. There was nothing mild, however, about the hummus. Made from roasted chickpeas, and brimming with the sharp, almost hot flavor of raw garlic, it was a fantastic accompaniment to bread, if not our breath.
Served with a broth of coconut rum, madras curry, fennel, thyme and celery, the Steamed Reggae Mussels had a wonderfully inviting aroma. They were tender without being mushy, and the leftover broth was quickly sopped up with bread. We found this to be a unique version of a Vineyard favorite.
The Irie Chilled Gazpacho was drizzled with olive oil and had a scoop of balsamic melon sorbet resting in the center. The gazpacho was smooth and creamy but retained enough texture to keep things interesting. The portion was quite large, but the different texture, temperature and flavor of the sorbet helped to keep things interesting. We also detected a bit of ginger, which brought a nice spiciness to the fresh garden flavor of the tomato.
Grouper is a fish that you are more likely to see on a Florida restaurant menu than here in New England, so we had to give it a try. The Roasted Grouper did not disappoint. Served on top of a bed of finely shaved cabbage, and covered with a mild but pungent curry sauce, the fish was moist and mild, but with more character than some other white-fleshed fishes. It’s always nice to get a well cooked, fresh piece of fish with a sauce that compliments instead of overpowers. The plate came with green beans, mango-lime chutney and what was listed as “soft basil polenta”. The slab of polenta had a pleasing texture, but little if any discernible basil flavor.
Salt cod was once a very important commodity, traded internationally, and still very popular in the West Indies. The Caribbean Delight carries on that tradition with a salted codfish stew, johnnycakes and plantains. The stew was good, with fresh vegetables, but salt cod is an acquired taste, one that we haven’t quite acquired yet. The golden-brown fried johnnycakes had bits of sliced scallion, and a pleasantly chewy texture that make them fun to eat. The ripe plantains were roasted in their skins, and sliced. They looked gorgeous, and were soft with a mellow sweetness.
While some people might be intimidated at the prospect of eating goat, we’re pretty sure that would change after tasting Deon’s Goat Shoulder Curry. The chunks of meat are served on the bone (and there is quite a bit of bone) with spinach colored curry, green beans and “fragrant rice n peas”. The braised goat was tender and hearty, without the gamey flavor one might expect. With a healthy level of heat, and a touch of sweetness, possibly from the carrots, the curry balanced well against the robust flavor of the goat. If you need a frame of reference, imagine a curried Ossobuco, using goat shoulder instead of veal shank.
For dessert, we sampled one of the specials, a Mango Shortcake with Coconut Cream. It was artfully layered with chunks of mango, strawberries, pineapple and a spiced coconut cake, topped with a coconut flavored whipped cream. The fruit was light and fresh, with a natural sweetness, and the plate was decorated with both coconut and berry drizzles.
Deon’s dining room is decorated with a rich red and black color scheme that we found very inviting. They have recently updated their music selection in the restaurant, switching from mostly reggae to jazz. This ties in nicely with their newly acquired collection of Chuck Stewart Photographs of jazz greats.
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Editor’s note ~ At Hungry Native, our restaurant reviews are by no means comprehensive, we may have visited a particular place many times, or perhaps only once. For the most part, we focus on specific dishes. We try to judge restaurants for what they are, rather than compare them directly. No review should be taken as a blanket endorsement of an establishment but rather a guide to what we found especially good or interesting.
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