The scent of the rose always lingers in the hand of the giver … Rose’s Grill in Caye Caulker
Should we order one or two? Are they big enough to split?” I looked over at my host Joanna, and was met with a raised eyebrow and a smile.
“Kristin, I have to tell you something about myself: I get one order of ceviche just for me. It is my dinner. I do not share.” said Joanna. She laughed and her whole face lit up.
Rose's owner Eduardo and Kaf
“So I guess that means we need two then.” I shot back a jesting look and a smirk.
“You guessed right!” she said.
Cook at work!
It did not take long for me to understand why – the ceviche at Rose’s was the freshest and most flavorful I had ever had. The conchs were tender and sweet, with the right of amount of chew. The sauce of lime juice and pepper with a touch of onion, lent a mouth-smackingly good flavor to the seafood that could be deftly scooped up by the crisp and salty chips.
Joanna prompted the owner Eduardo Arceo to invite me into the kitchen. He looked me up and down discerningly.
“I will talk to you and let you know how to make ceviche – but it is my technique, and you can’t tell anyone but your readers.” he smiled.
Roses’ has been in operation for 11 years. The front room – a sand floor palapa bar, fitted with long picnic style tables, is a decided contrast to the bustle inside the kicthen. Food is prepared in two places: outside of the house on the road, where two large grills are stationed to showcase the catch of the day, and inside behind the bar. Guest select fishes, crabs or kebabs, along with chicken or meat. The cooks grill your selection and send it to the back of the house to be plated with your choice of three daily sides. You can also bring your fresh catch to Rose’s and for $10 BZD, have them fix it up with the veggies or starch of your choice.
The ceviche is their crowning jewel – served as a small “amuse-bouche” to every table, or as a full appetizer.
“I will show you how easy it is – when things are fresh.” he said in a lilting, dream-like way. I was under the distinct impression, I would be let in on a secret. To Arceo, food is his passion , and seducing people into the restaurant is an easy task.
Arceo cleaned a fresh conch steak and flash-boiled the meat ( less than 2 seconds) to remove any impurities. Into a quick ice bath to stop any cooking, the meat was then trimmed and chopped. He then added fresh lime juice, cilantro, onion, tomatoes, salt, and hot pepper sauce. A quick toss and it was plated in a custom made coconut shell cup.
Arceo had me try the meat just as it was plated. “See how fresh and soft it is. It will change due to the acid in the limes in the time it takes to serve it to your table. ” He was right. The conch firmed up when I sat down to join my family – its textures still delicious, had decidedly more chew. “That is why we always make it to order. It is very fresh here.” he said.
Fresh from their recent accolades at the international Trade Leader’s Club in Spain, Eduardo and his staff are waiting for you to come and try the ceviche with a michelada – great as an after-fun-in-the-sun at the Split combination.