A collage that includes some of Le Cuisinier's offerings, exterior and interior. By VI CONSORTIUM/JAMAL MIRANDA VIA FACEBOOK
From the moment your feet touch the five or so concrete stairs leading inside Le Cuisinier, a new restaurant whose location is in the same space that once housed Breeze's Restaurant, you feel what the owners of the facility attempted to capture: elegance and class. As you enter, purple lights reflect on white walls and create an aura of rich simplicity, and an expectation that whatever you're about to experience will be worth it.
If you've been to Breeze's you'll recognize the interior of Le Cuisinier, which comes with indoor and outdoor dining areas. But that's where the similarities end. From the new owners — renowned local culinary family Jamal, Jeffery and Janice Miranda — to the offerings, including Tuesday: Taco Night, Wednesday: Italian Night, Thursday: Sushi Night, Friday: Surf and Turf Night, Saturday: Seafood Boil Day, and Sunday Brunch "Cruzan Style".
On Saturday evening, this reporter and another guest were seated in the open area, placed center on a table dressed with a black tablecloth accentuated with shimmering decorative overlay. As we were seated, a pleasant waitress approached eager to serve, reading out a menu that boasted fancy offerings whose names alone made us want to try the entire menu. We deliberated a bit, and then settled: I had steak, which included seasoned rice and a mixed vegetable-styled side, while the other guest had a salmon offering.
Allow the candidness: both meals were among the most satisfyingly good cuisines I've ever tasted on St. Croix. Being a steak eater, this reporter could instantly determine a steak's worthiness, and the offering at Le Cuisinier, which means "the cook up" in French, delivered a wowing, A+ serving of my medium-well order. The other guest's order of salmon boasted a special sauce that, quite honestly, did not need to the sauce to taste good, as the salmon itself appeared to have been soaked in the sauce and delivered a taste so rewarding, so enjoyable that we paused for a moment to recognize the expertise of the chefs. Even the appetizers were memorable in both taste and presentation.
The Main Act
Chef Jamal Miranda is a widely known figure on St. Croix, having served up great-tasting meals to Virgin Islanders from all walks at a variety of restaurants. Le Cuisinier, owned by Jamal, his mother Janice Miranda, brother Jeffery Miranda, and Jeffery's wife Anika Miranda, is the main act, where guests can expect to experience the best of what the family has learned over the nearly two decades of cooking in both taste and presentation.
Speaking to the brothers after the meal, both Jamal and Jeffery agreed that Le Cuisinier was Jamal's best effort after having worked at a number of restaurants.
"We wanted to give people this ambience," Jamal said of Le Cuisinier. Jamal has been a chef for about 18 years, starting his career at the Rum Runners Restaurant on the boardwalk in Christiansted. He has held a number of culinary events and was recently featured on the Consortium's "Coconut Vybez" program, where he demonstrated grilled Snapper on the beach.
Jamal and Jeffery praised their mother, Janice, who they credited for introducing them to culinary arts and for keeping them on tracking, stating she would never allow her children to be idle.
The men seek to infuse into the restaurant's culture a mantra they hold dear: that life is diverse and therefore no one day should be the same. Jamal described it during the interview as having a "balance," which is why every day at Le Cuisinier is themed differently.
A restaurant in the Covid era
Opening during a pandemic, the Jamals have implemented protocols to assure safety, including CDC-approved spacing and other social-distancing measures. The spacious restaurant's Covid-19 guidelines allow it to seat between 25-50 individuals, and offers both indoor and outdoor dining.
The restaurant will soon have contactless menus available, which allows guests to scan a barcode, get the menu and place an order without having to touch a traditional menu.
Valentine's Day Cabana Dinner
Le Cuisinier overlooks a beach whose natural beauty includes towering palm trees. The restaurant has planned a special Valentine's Day event for lovers to take place on the beach on Feb. 14, which will include a cabana and special catering. Book now, as space is limited to 12.
To make reservations, call Le Cuisinier at 340-713-2665. The restaurant, which opens from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., is located in Golden Rock (same location where Breeze's was once housed). To get there, coming from the Pueblo Supermarket area in Golden Rock, take the right at the District Court of the Virgin Islands and head straight down. Once at the bottom, you'll see the Breeze's sign (which will soon say Le Cuisinier), and follow the road.
The restaurant also takes orders, and the menu will be available on its website which was in the final stages of completion at time of publication of this story.