If you have been to Christiansted recently you have undoubtedly seen the beautifully renovated building at the intersection of Company Street and Queen Cross Street. Here, in the heart of historic downtown Christiansted, an original 250 year old building was restored and converted into one of St. Croix’s hottest new restaurants, balter. As a collaboration between award-winning chef Digby Stridiron and award-winning sommelier Patrick Kralik, balter has already generated a lot of hype.
balter focuses both it’s food and beverage menus around fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Staying true to his Crucian roots, Chef Digby Stridiron crafted a menu that offers creatively composed contemporary West Indian dishes utilizing old-fashioned techniques. If you are not familiar with Chef Digby, he was born on St. Croix and is the “Culinary Ambassador of the US Virgin Islands.” He makes a point to establish sustainable working relationships with the local farmers because growing up here on the island increased his awareness of the importance of locally sourcing ingredients whenever possible. Chef Digby is an official member of the Slow Food Movement and the James Beard Foundation, and he helped to make balter and St. Croix a culinary destination here in the Caribbean.
When it comes to using local ingredients, it’s not just about the food at balter. The bars (yes, there are two!) offer a “Farm to Glass” program which utilizes locally sourced, unique island ingredients in house-made craft cocktails. With sommelier Patrick Kralik designing the bar menu, you can also expect an exquisite wine list. In fact, balter features varietal specific glassware and a Cruvinet system (a temperature controlled system keeps wines as fresh as the moment they are uncorked for up to six weeks) which allows for a nice menu of wines by the glass, or by the ounce. As Patrick told me when pointing out the benefits of the Cruvinet system: “We can have very expensive wines that guests can taste by the ounce. I mean how often do you get to try a $1,000 bottle of wine?”
As for the restaurant itself, balter is designed to offer both elegant indoor seating, as well as beautiful courtyard seating. The indoor and outdoor areas each have their own bar. Inside, the dining room offers the more upscale dining experience. For those who wish to dine alfresco, the courtyard area is surrounded by balter’s onsite gardens, and houses a stage for live music as well as a community table. The balter building has been designed to keep the facade and building structure in it’s original Danish style, but has been repainted and is being renovated with all modern conveniences inside. The design also incorporates some of the original building materials into the renovated space, as well as adding native and locally made accessories and details wherever possible including beautiful mahogany beams, a Danish brick oven, and custom plates handmade by Don Schnell of St. John.
I don’t know about you, but my mouth waters at the mere thought of enjoying one of Chef Digby’s creations paired with one of Patrick’s unique craft cocktails. You can see a sample menu for balter, learn more about the balter family, and follow the progress of their restaurant on their website at: www.balterstx.com.
– Jennie Ogden, Editor
balter delivers the perfect combination of simple elegance. Taste St. Croix in the offerings from balter’s menu which include fresh, locally sourced ingredients in the creatively composed Contemporary West Indian dishes created by award-winning chef, Digby Stridiron. Enjoy inspired craft cocktails, or choose from balter’s extensive list of wines, thoughtfully selected by Sommelier Patrick Kralik.…