A few miles off of the coast of mainland Puerto Rico is Vieques Island. It’s reasonably small, but still supports a couple of towns, one of which is Esperanza, which caters to tourists a bit more than elsewhere. It was there that we found Duffy’s, a bar and grill with food you could probably find anywhere in the rest of the US, but with a distinct island vibe to it.
Part of that island vibe came to us in their specials. From the list of specials (written on strategic chalkboards throughout the restaurant to be carried around by the waitstaff) we picked out some Lemon Shark Bites to start off the meal. Lemon Shark, by the way, is an actual type of shark and not the flavor of the shark. Well, sort of, because these fried up bites definitely had a citrus kick to them and were delicious in the sauce they came in. It definitely felt good to be doing the biting than the reverse (and don’t worry, Lemon Sharks aren’t endangered so eating them doesn’t screw up the ecosystem like shark fin soup does).
I chose the Texas Burger as my main course, which didn’t appear to have any resemblance to Texas, but did come topped with cheddar and jalapenos (and lettuce and tomato and all that nonsense, but I ordered mine without). I ordered medium-rare, but on island time I didn’t know what to expect. The result was not something medium-rare, but a pretty decent patty of beef.It was weirdly topped with shredded cheese, which made me fell like I was getting less cheese, but at least it was melted. The jalapenos were, well, jalapenos. Perhaps most impressive, though, was that it came with a choice of waffle fries and these were spectacular.
For typical bar food, Duffy’s does a pretty decent job without disappointing or impressing too much (aside from those waffle fries!). The shark bites were pretty awesome, though, and at least made me feel like I was dining on a small island instead of just at a sports bar in anywhereland.