Baha Mar Just Opened Its First Steakhouse — and They Got the Best Butcher in the World to Oversee It
Few people who have visited Baha Mar — the 1,000-acre resort destination outside Nassau that opened in May 2017, after years in the making — would say that it's missing something.
The place has three hotels, for crying out loud — three hotels with 2,300 keys between them, each catering to a different demographic. At the center is the sprawling, 1,800-room Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, which is basically the phrase "family fun" in physical form, with candy-colored suites and six different pools to choose from. To the west, there's SLS Baha Mar: the first international location of the clubby Miami hotel brand, all South Beach-chic with breezy white rooms and a new rooftop lounge. (Skybar is already a hit with guests and locals alike.) And to the east is the Rosewood Baha Mar, the serene, ultra-high-end retreat which earned a spot on T+L's 2019 It List.
Baha Mar has more than 40 restaurants. Baha Mar has a massive casino, a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus, an aquatic center where you can pet sharks and feed sea turtles, and a smoothie shack where you can make your own daiquiri on a bicycle-powered blender. But until recently, Baha Mar did not have a steakhouse — and the management never heard the end of it.
At the opening of Carna — a new restaurant by master butcher Dario Cecchini, who recently guest-judged an episode of Top Chef and was profiled on Chef's Table — Baha Mar president Graeme Davis noted guests' repeated entreaties for an excellent on-property steakhouse. To address this demand, the ownership didn't turn to just any restaurateur or chain. Instead, they sought out the man who many consider the best butcher in the world.
Chianti-based Cecchini made his name at his family butcher shop and restaurant, which have made the tiny village of Panzano a major stop on the Tuscan gastrotourism circuit. His first restaurant outside Italy is the biggest culinary draw at Baha Mar, and one of the most notable recent openings in the country (local Bahamians make up a good chunk of the clientele, eager to check out the latest celebrity chef project).
And while Cecchini will still be based in Chianti — traveling to the Bahamas, he says, as often as he can — the gregarious butcher was out in full force at the opening event, singing folk songs, carving massive porterhouses, and working the crowd in his trademark Italian-flag-patterned suit.
On a day-to-day basis, Carna will be helmed by executive chef Thomas Griese, who has trained under chefs like Thomas Keller and Michael Mina. On the beverage side, sommelier Juan Gargano (previously of Aldo Sohm and Casa Apicii, in New York City) curates an unrestrained wine list of rare and unusual bottles, many of which were previously unavailable in the Bahamas.
As with many offerings at Baha Mar, it feels like no expense was spared at Carna: the dining room is sexy and rich, with a marble bar, plush banquettes, and an array of various aged meats, displayed like jewels, in a massive cabinet by the entrance. On the menu: raw bar items like a massive fruits de mer tower, a wide variety of charcuterie, and of course, steak. Kobe steak, Wagyu steak, Cecchini's favorite Panzanese steak. A $245 Tomahawk steak. Even a steak katsu sandwich, which — surprise, surprise — is stuffed with caviar. Everything is made according to Cecchini's high standards, which (much like Baha Mar itself) flirt tastefully with decadence.
To the delight of inquiring guests, Baha Mar finally has a steakhouse — and my, what a steakhouse it is.