Imagine being able to dip your toes into the crystalline blue waters of the Atlantic, share a smooch with a resident dolphin and lay on an inner tube while drifting along a 1/4-mile lazy river with a frozen concoction in hand–all before noon. Groups visiting Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas can experience the best of the Caribbean without every leaving the resort, as well as the largest conference space in the West Indies.
This November the resort unveils its newest addition, Virgil’s BBQ. Chef Neal Corman, corporate executive chef of the Alicart Restaurant Group, spoke to us about how the new restaurant plans to add to Atlantis’s already diverse food offerings.
Prevue: What makes Virgil’s BBQ different than the other restaurants in the resort?
Chef Neal Corman: It’s the only barbecue restaurant on the island so I don’t think they’ve ever had that kind of fare there before. There are a lot of famous chefs who have opened up a lot of different concepts but this is a concept that has been around since 1994 in New York City. We’re right off of Times Square and we’ve been doing real American barbecue for a really long time. We actually started the restaurant concept when there was a group of people who went all over the United States and got barbecue ideas and recipes from all the different regions. That’s kind of what made Virgil’s what it is.
We’re not changing pretty much anything from what we did for 17 years. We’re going to bring it right over to the Bahamas and we’re going to give the guests of Atlantis and the people in Paradise Island a taste of what we’ve been doing here in New York.
What are some favorites we can find on the menu?
It’s obviously predominantly classical American barbecue. We’ve got barbecue from all over–Central Texas, Kansas City, Memphis, the Carolinas and Tennessee–So that’s obviously a huge part of what it is, and then there’s a little bit of a southern flair to the other things we prepare. A lot of the side dishes are very indigenous of the south part of the United States. We’ve got grits, collard greens, mac and cheese, hushpuppies and biscuits.
We’ve also got crab cakes on the menu so other than barbecue, there’s also that little bit of southern flair. Our ribs are a signature. Our fried chicken is just incredible. Our Carolina pulled pork is great too. Again, it’s just amazing flavors that we’ve been sharing with everybody in the New York area over the years. We’ve also got train-wreck fries, which is a culmination of a lot of things. It’s almost like a nacho dish with french fries instead of corn chips as a base for it. These are some of our signature dishes.
It is! What’s really nice is that especially this time of year and everything, it’s great comfort food. Now, with everything that’s going on and so many great things going on in our country, people love to get down to something that they just feel accustomed to. They need something they are comfortable with and there’s nothing that is a better example of that than barbecue.