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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The "Scrumptious "Effect of the Sea"" Story

Isabelle stands in front of L'effect Mer on Blvd de Grand Case.
The blue frontage opens onto one of the best views on the boulevard.
It was an ordinary day.  Sitting along Grand Case Bay, in the village that bears its name, on the French side of the island St. Martin/Sint Maarten.  Our restaurant of choice this evening is L'effect Mer which is a small restaurant with mostly water-view seating that opened in February of 2016.  
Carol sits at our table, looking toward the setting sun.
We arrived shortly after the restaurant opened.
It's name means the "effect of the sea" in French.  The village of Grand Case is referred to as the Gourmet Capital of the Caribbean and a new eating establishment along restaurant row will only survive if it is a worthy addition.  Carol and I have visited a few of the waterside restaurants as well as a few that sit on the opposite side of the street that runs along the edge of the bay, Blvd de Grand-Case.  I should tell you that our choice of dining tonight was due to a post on the travel website TravelTalkOnline (TTOL) where the poster wondered why all the big name restaurants were filled to the gills with diners while the one restaurant with the best food was sitting empty.  
The bowl of cream of duck soup was wonderful.
That really drew my attention and thought maybe we should make a stop on our final evening of vacation on the island and have a taste of the best food in Grand Case.  Well, I'll tell you we weren't disappointed.  I parked our rental Kia Picanto in the public parking lot, crossed the bridge that at one time had water flowing under it from the nearby salt pond to the bay and saw the blue wooden entrance into the restaurant.  
My meal of Duck Beast with orange sauce.
The owner, Isabelle, was watching the foot traffic as we approached and asked if we needed a reservation.  "Not a problem in the off-season," she replied to me.  Since Carol and I like to eat much earlier than many diners in Grand Case, we had our choice of tables along the water.  
Carol's meal of Scallops with mango juice.
The menu was provided and drinks ordered.  We examined the "Specials" board, but decided on the Scallops with mango juice, yam gratin and vegetables for Carol and Duck breast with orange sauce, yam gratin and vegetables for me.  A short time later Isabelle brought fresh bread and the most delicious soup to our table.  
Our favorite Chocolate fondant.
The cream of duck liver soup was unbeliev- able.  Without a doubt the best appetizer of our vacation.  Carol remarked that she probably wouldn't have ordered the soup, but after tasting it, would definitely order it on our next visit to L'effect Mer.  After time for conversation, our main course arrived and both dinners looked as if they were a piece of art.  
Chef Enor Guirand. Amazing job.
The presentation by the chef, Enor Guirand, was amazing.  My phone took a photo before I touched my fork.  We shared a taste of each meal and spent the next half hour savoring the flavors of French cuisine.  We did save space to share one of our favorite desserts, Chocolate fondant 72% cocoa with spiced honey and walnut sauce.  Wow, what a finish to perhaps the best meal of our vacation.  Isabelle can be proud of her place along the Blvd de Grand-Case in the Gourmet Capital of the Caribbean.  The menu and quality of offerings will certainly bring crowds to this gem by the bay.  Carol and I have added it to our must-visit list for our 2017 visit to the island that we now call our second home.  Thank you, Enor, for your fabulous touch to your creations!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.     

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