U.S.V.I. eateries pass palate test

CHRISTIANSTED, St. Croix -- After attending the second International Workshop on Herbal Medicines, I was hungry. My first stop was Kim's Restaurant at 45 King St. in Christiansted.

Kim Chiverton, chef and owner, hails from Nevis, where she started cooking on a charcoal stove at the age of 6. Her mother let her experiment in the cookroom, a separate kitchen behind the house. A bucket of water was always nearby in case of fire.

Kim's Restaurant, a cheerful, airy place seating 24, opened in 1991 and serves local beverages, such as maubi, sorrel, ginger beer and punch. Menu items include stewed goat, curried chicken and conch in butter sauce. Highly recommended are the potato stuffing and seasoned rice.

The main ingredient in the maubi beverage is maubi bark, traditionally used as a "cooling" tea and as a treatment for diarrhea, dysentery, fever and liver problems. Ginger beer, made with fresh, grated ginger, a small amount of yeast and vanilla or almond essence, is said to improve a sluggish circulation.

Kim's is open Mondays through Saturdays for lunch and dinner. Reservations are recommended for groups. For information, call (340) 773-3377.

Also in Christiansted, try Indies, located in the courtyard of an old Danish home at 55-56 Company St.

Indies' menu integrates local fruits and vegetables with dishes of continental origin. This is a popular restaurant. Make reservations. For information, call (340) 692-9440.

In Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, I had stewed mutton and conch in butter sauce at Cuzzin's at 7 Backstreet.

Entrees, served with traditional side dishes, ranged from $9.50 to $18. The local beverages on tap were maubi, sea moss, ginger beer, soursop and tamarind juice. Dessert specialties included guava, coconut and pineapple tarts.

Cuzzin's is open Tuesdays through Saturdays for lunch and dinner and on Mondays for lunch only. For reservations, call (340) 777-4711.

Also on St. Thomas, try Victor's New Hide Out for island conch, fresh West Indian lobster and the catch of the day. Early risers can see the fish being cleaned in the Frenchtown fish market. For information, call (340) 776-9379.

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