Since I had a list of places I wanted to eat at while in Nashville, I jumped at the chance when someone asked me where we should go for lunch. I suggested Couva Calypso and found out it was extremely close to our hotel. D.Rough, the Minnesota Rollergirls SuperFans and I drove over to try it out.
The place is a little bit island-y inside. Lots of garish colored paint and corrugated steel for decoration. Oddly enough, there wasn’t a single steel drum on the ambient music the entire time we were there, but whatever, maybe that’s not what the kids there listen to now.
The menu is pretty straight forward. Lots of delicious looking sides, a couple salads, and chicken dishes that you can get with various sauces. I knew what I was in the mood for, so I got the half a rotisserie white meat chicken with Jerk Sauce. The jerk sauce comes with all kinds of cautionary warnings about how hot it was, but it also said it comes on the side, so you can control your heat. That made me feel a bit easier about getting this. I also got Martinique Callaloo – which is mustard greens, tomatoes, and onions. I’ve had this a number of places and have been thrilled with it. I also got two Boija cornbread muffins since it seemed like the right thing to do.
The food didn’t take long to come out, which was nice since we were starving. I started with the Callaloo – very good flavor, but not much bite to it. I expected a lot more, especially given some places in the Twin Cities I’ve eaten it at, where they appear to be angry with the customer and trying to light them on fire from the inside out. The Couva Calypso version was pretty tame compared to that. No worries, it just meant I could eat it faster.
The chicken itself was really flavorful and I was quite happy with it. The downside was the jerk sauce wasn’t the slightest bit hot. It was vinegar-y and had some bite to it from that, but there was a severe lack of heat in this jerk sauce. Granted, the sauce flavor wasn’t bad, but I really expected something different. However, based on the percentage of Caucasian clientele that were dining here (100%), it wasn’t a surprise that this place didn’t turn up the heat a little bit. On top of this, the corn bread muffins were quite lack luster and dry. They had some shredded coconut on the top, which I couldn’t taste at all, but made them look pretty. I thought the corny flavor of them might add something to the entire dish, but it just seemed to take all the moisture out of the food and left me thirsty. In fact, for the first time possibly ever, I left half a cornbread muffin on my plate at the end of the meal.
Maybe it was just what I ordered, but I was slightly let down with this Couva Calypso Café. Maybe I should have tried something adventurous, which I thought I WAS. But sadly, if this place had just been marketed as a chicken place, it probably would have been just fine. When you add the Calypso part to the name, I sort of expect some sort of Caribbean flavor with the food. The food wasn’t terrible, just not at all what I expected from it.
I still haven’t looked up what a Bioja is, and why the cornbread muffins were named after it/him/her.
Top 5 things about Couva Calypso Café
1. The chicken flavor
2. The menu has some interesting things on it, despite not being large
3. The decoration inside was really fun
4. Really nice staff people
5. D.Rough said the homemade fruit tea she ordered was really nice
Bottom 5 things
1. Zero heat in the jerk sauce
2. Boija cornbread muffins were dry
3. No spice or seasoning in the Callaloo
4. I have issues with sitting in plastic lawn furniture when I’m inside a restaurant – call me snooty
5. No calypso music at all being played inside