The coconut prawns at Calypso in Edmonds are served with mango habanero chutney. The prawns are flash fried and cooked in the oven. (Sharon Salyer/The Herald)

The coconut prawns at Calypso in Edmonds are served with mango habanero chutney. The prawns are flash fried and cooked in the oven. (Sharon Salyer/The Herald)

Experience the flavors of the Caribbean at Calypso in Edmonds

Strike up the steel band and get ready for a restaurant that evokes the sunny Caribbean islands.

To amend a well-worn phrase from some Victorian novels: It was a dark and rainy night. The scene was in Edmonds.

And that, of course, followed two weeks filled with weather surprises more akin to the snow belt than Puget Sound.

So why not go to a place that evoked a warm, sunny climate if I couldn’t make a trip there myself? That’s what I decided last week, and asked a couple to join me at Calypso Edmonds.

The restaurant is relatively new to Edmonds, opening on Dec. 20. But it’s in a well-known location, the former home of Cafe De Paris.

The name, theme and cooking at Calypso reflect the experiences of owners Jennifer Myatt and Michael Chambers, who both spent time in the Caribbean. They met in Grand Cayman, part of the Cayman Islands, where they were working in restaurants.

For Myatt, it was an opportunity for someone who grew up in Nova Scotia and managed an Irish pub to experience a totally different climate. “The winters in Canada can be a little trying,” she said.

Her husband-to-be had moved to Grand Cayman after a stint in Greece and “was looking for his next adventure,” Myatt said.

Following their time there, she and Chambers, who originally is from Everett, decided to move back to the area in 2014.

Chambers got a job at the Loft Cafe in downtown Edmonds. One evening, the couple ran into Firmin Berclaz, owner of Cafe De Paris. Chambers wondered if Berclaz was ready to sell his restaurant.

“He had been there for 35 years,” Myatt said. “He was ready to relax.”

With their experience in the restaurant business, they could have opened just about any type of restaurant. But they kept settling on a Caribbean theme. “That’s what we know,” Myatt said. “We love it.”

My friends and I ordered three main course dishes from its current selection of six entrees: Coconut prawns with mango habanero chutney ($22), jerk pork tenderloin ($20); and blackened rockfish, cilantro lime cream sauce with rice and beans ($19).

There are a variety of alcoholic beverages available, including pina coladas ($11) and margaritas ($10). Don’t overlook the non-alcoholic offerings. I tried the freckled mule ($5) and loved its mix of strawberry puree, ginger beer and mint.

And now, the entrees.

The coconut prawns are flash fried and then finished in the oven. I don’t usually order deep fried items and was delighted that the stop in the oven retained the crispness without the deep fried flavor. It comes with Jamaican style rice and beans and sauteed vegetables.

The jerk pork is made from pork tenderloin rubbed with house-made seasoning, cooked in the oven and then seared to finish it.

“That’s a secret,” Myatt said when asked about what was in the seasoning, but did divulge some of it, including cloves, allspice and cayenne.

“It was certainly tasty — a little heat but not so much it overwhelmed the dish,” was how one of my guests rated it.

The blackened rockfish is pan fried and comes with cilantro lime cream sauce, rice and beans. My other guest said it was perfectly cooked, moist and not spicy.

We thought some of the dishes could use just a little more kick of spice, and Myatt said that extra spice can be added to dishes upon request.

There are several things you should know about the restaurant.

There are no reservations. It’s first come, first served, in part because it’s close to the ferry dock and the heart of downtown, an area with lots of strollers.

And if you go on a busy night, as we did, its 17 tables can be packed with eager diners. The overall noise level can call for “lean in” conversations around the table. It’s something that’s common at many area restaurants.

And finally, for now, it’s only open for dinner.

Plans call for adding a happy hour in the spring, with casual offerings such as tacos and nachos, and to open for lunch by summer.

Myatt said she’s been delighted by the reception the restaurant has received. “People have been very gracious to us,” she said.

“They understand we’re a new restaurant, and growing pains go along with that. We think we’ve done a good job so far of making everyone happy.”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

If you go

Calypso Edmonds is at 109 Main St., Edmonds (just up the street from the ferry dock). Its hours are 5 to 10 p.m Monday through Thursday; 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. It is closed on Sunday. They do not accept reservations. Call 425-678-0652 or check the website calypsoedmonds.com for more information.

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