Restaurant Review

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    How One Restaurant Manages To Stay Open Despite Being Closed The Two Busiest Nights of The Week

How One Restaurant Manages To Stay Open Despite Being Closed The Two Busiest Nights of The Week

Hello Foodie Friends,

Well it has been some time now since I have written a recent post (for those of you who notice). I have been a little bit on hiatus trying to acclimate myself to a more healthy eating pattern. In order to do this, I must refrain from personally eating out (and drinking wine) as much (I know, why would someone in their right mind voluntarily give these things up, especially wine, right?!?) Well fortunately, Savor Our City has a couple new contributors who have been graciously accepting the invites I have been receiving (for the most part) for these last couple months while I attain my goal weight. Here is one place I did decide to scope out personally last week.

It’s called Ditmas Kitchen & Cocktail, opened by Top Chef alum, Chef Alex Reznik formerly of La Seine, FigOly & Ivan Kane’s Cafe Was and run by Chef Joseph Reuter.  It is a kosher restaurant. Apparently, there is a kosher restaurant trend happening right now I read somewhere. Who knew?!? I really didn’t know much about the restaurant until I heard about it from my friend Shaina from Take A Bite Out of Boca, who was kind enough to invite me on behalf of Ditmas to experience it for myself, I just couldn’t pass this up. (Don’t worry, I didn’t blow my healthy eating too bad at all and didn’t have to give up anything in flavor at all. I tried everything prepared by Chef Joe that GM Larry had brought out to us. Here, see for yourself…

Being a kosher restaurant certainly has its challenges/constraints, one of which is being closed on Friday & Saturday nights, two of the busiest nights of the week […]

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    Chef Michael Smerda blends art and bold flavors for Miami Spice menu at Canvas

Chef Michael Smerda blends art and bold flavors for Miami Spice menu at Canvas

By Steve Pike

As Miami Spice begins Aug. 1, culinary talk in South Florida will center around “food as art.’’ Nowhere will that concept be more on display than at Canvas, the outstanding restaurant at The Sagamore Hotel on South Beach.

http://www.sagamorehotel.com/

Already acclaimed for the art collection that adorns its walls, The Sagamore should earn equal notoriety during Miami Spice, which runs through Sept. 30, as famed international Chef Michael Smerda brings his progressive cooking style to Canvas.

Set within the hotel’s lobby and its art adorned walls, Smerda’s newly launched menu of multicultural dishes – full of bold and balanced flavors – will be on full display during Miami Spice, which is the ideal time for The Sagamore to show off the renovated Canvas restaurant.

http://www.canvasmiamibeach.com/

“A large part of my vision was to bring the topic of ‘art’ to the plate, in the way we plate the dishes, the use of colorful ingredients, add fragrance with spices, all interacting with the dish,’’ Smerda told me.

That interaction begins immediately on his four-course Miami Spice menu with a first course of Heirloom Carrots with White Balsamic Ice Cream. That’s correct. Ice cream as a first course. The combination of roasted carrots, carrot gel, sour dough soil, fennel greens, frisee salad and white balsamic ice cream is a piece of art on the plate and a masterpiece of flavors in your mouth.

Undoubtedly it will be one of the more talked-about (and unique) dishes – appetizer or entrée – during Miami Spice. Smerda got the inspiration for the dish from Chef Christian Hümbs, the renowned pastry chef at La Mer, in the Grand Spa Resort A-ROSA in Sylt, Germany.

“He is known for using vegetables as the dessert,’’ Smerda said. “He goes […]

NEIGHBORHOOD GEM: VIC & ANGELO’S IN PALM BEACH GARDENS

By Steve PikePerhaps the best way to describe Vic & Angelo’s Italian restaurant in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is to begin at the end. That is, with the eatery’s seemingly lighter than air tiramisu. After all, what serious foodie doesn’t want to start a meal with dessert?But more important, Vic & Angelo’s tiramisu is a great example of the attention to detail Executive Chef Kelley Randall and his staff give every dish.

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“There is a lot of love that goes into everything,’’ Randall said.

The tiramisu, for example, is made with 50 percent mascarpone cheese, instead of the 10 to 15 percent most other Italian restaurants use.

“It makes all the difference,’’ Randall said. “And the Bellino Lady Fingers are flown in from Italy. We don’t use the cheap stuff.’’

The same holds true for the entire menu at Vic & Angelo’s, located in PGA Commons. The pastas and sauces each are made fresh in-house, and each pizza is handcrafted with dough from water delivered from Brooklyn and baked in a 900-degree pizza oven.

“I don’t want to discount anything, but the pizza here is unreal,’’ Randall said. “Our pizza chef has been making it the same way since we opened 10 years ago. He’ll never compromise quality.’’
Vic & Angelo’s pizza is baked in a 900-degree oven
That last sentence could serve as Vic & Angelo’s motto. There is a quality in every dish on the menu, from the incredible Stuffed Squash Blossoms, Burrata, and Linguini Fine con Vongole.

My favorites? The Gigante Meatball with Ricotta, Bell Pepper, Garden Basil, San Marzano Gravy; the Burrata made with local burrata cheese; and the Four Cheese Pear Tortelloni with White Truffle Zabaglione and shaved truffles.
Burrata
Oh yes, the tiramisu.

Regardless of your dish selections, it all […]

Costa brings bold, bold flavors to Palm Beach

David Valencia has been in restaurant kitchens for the past 14 years – a relatively short time by executive chef standards – but the 33-year native of Colombia has experience far beyond those years. Valencia, executive chef at Costa Palm Beach, has cut his teeth at such fabled restaurants as The Modern in New York City and trained under Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse.

He later joined renowned hospitality group EMM Group to open Catch with Top Chef Winner Hung Huynh in New York and Miami and was Chef de Cuisine at Meat Market Palm Beach before opening Costa (with owner and veteran Palm Beach restaurateur Sascha Bennemann) earlier this year.

All of Valencia’s high-powered training and learning is paying off at Costa, located on the second floor of The Esplanade on Palm Beach’s trendy Worth Avenue.

“Modern Mediterranean’’ is how Valencia describes Costa’s menus, which feature several of what might be considered Valencia’s “signature’’ dishes. Among them is the amazing Salt Baked Branzino, a three-pound Crispy Pork Shank (for two) and for lunch, an off-the-chain Lamb Burger.

“I wanted to bring something different with a lot of different flavor profiles – big bold flavors,’’ Valencia said.

Those bold flavors certainly come out in dishes such as the Salt Baked Branzino served with arugula emulsion, grilled lemon, olive caper tomato relish. It’s a terrific explosion of flavors that has many guests telling friends, “Get the Branzino,’’ when they go to Costa.

“I’ve been doing something similar (in terms of preparing the Branzino) for the past seven or eight years,’’ Valencia said. “For whatever reason, this is the dish people come back for. I didn’t expect it to be like that.’’

And don’t fret. The full fish is for presentation purposes only.

The Crispy […]

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    Dorrian’s Red Hand is filled with comfort food and good times

Dorrian’s Red Hand is filled with comfort food and good times

By Steve Pike

Every neighborhood should have its favorite bar. Preferably an Irish bar. On Clematis Street in West Palm Beach, I nominate Dorrian’s Red Hand. It filled with comfort food, comfort music (Pink Floyd, the Eagles, Creedence) and big screen TVs.

http://www.dorrians-wpb.com/

It’s also filled with locals who come to watch favorite teams, listen to live music and just chill with a brew and burger. It’s an Irish-American bar without the leprechauns and shamrocks. A place you’re likely to see in the Irish countryside, except that there is music at Dorrian’s. Most pubs in the Irish countryside chase musicians out the door. The story goes that even the Rolling Stones were once banned from playing in an Irish countryside bar.

That aside, “We started building up a nice, local clientele,’’ said co-owner Danny Dorrian, a veteran New York City restaurateur who opened the eatery and pub in April 2016. “Probably one of the more difficult places I’ve done business. People here are from all over the country. Everyone wants certain things.’’

Dorrian’s menu obliges. For example, the New York City House Burger features Bush Brothers beef and is served on an English muffin, so you’re getting more beef than bread.  It’s one of the better burgers in South Florida.

The thick Shepherd’s Pie is a “must have, and even if you don’t like calamari, the Amata Calamari (flash fried or sautéed) with spinach, cherry peppers and mushrooms is outstanding. If you just want to pig out, go for the loaded nachos with turkey chili.

Dorrian’s menu also has some steak and seafood items, perhaps the best French fries in South Florida, as well as year-round Thanksgiving dinner complete with slow roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, sausage stuffing, cranberry and gravy.

“Good food […]

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    Mojito Bar combines classic Cuban cocktails with Nuevo Latin Cuisine

Mojito Bar combines classic Cuban cocktails with Nuevo Latin Cuisine

By Steve Pike

Come for the mojitos, stay for the food. That’s my advice for guests at the new Mojito Bar restaurant at Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise, Fla. Renowned Chef Douglas Rodriguez has fused his signature Nuevo Latin Cuisine with the classic Cuban cocktail for a terrific indoor and outdoor dining experience.

http://themojitobar.com

Located on the edge of some of Sawgrass Mills’ more popular store, the vibrant and colorful Mojito Bar is an ideal spot for people watching, as well as lunch and dinner.

The experience begins, of course, with the mojitos. Mojito Bar has a deep selection of mojitos, led by the Classic served with DonQ Cristal rum; the robust Coconut mojito features DonQ. Try them each in Mojito Bar’s 24-ounce glass and you might never want to leave. If you’re looking to take the experience up another notch, Mojito Bar serves its namesake cocktails in a souvenir 32-ounce light-up tower glass.

Now on to the food. Start with the Smoked Pineapple Guacamole that has unbelievable flavor thanks mostly to the pineapple that’s smoked for up to eight hours before being served.

“Not your typical guacamole,’’ said Mojito Bar Manager Bar Jose Reigosa.

The Smoked Pineapple Guacamole is just one example of Rodriguez’s menu that also features dishes such as Cuban Sandwich on a Stick, Short Rib Soft Tacos (my favorite), Mojito Shrimp Ceviche and Brazilian Coconut Seafood Casserole.

“Douglas brought us a menu to match who we are,’’ Reigosa said.

It’s a perfect match.

Steve Pike is an award-winning food and travel writer at Spike’s Peek’s: The Art of Travel (www.myspiketravel.com). He lives in Delray Beach, Fla.

 

 

O is for Outstanding and it also stands for Ouzo Bay

Hello Foodie Friends,
I was recently invited to dine at the new Ouzo Bay, which opened up their second location just under four months ago in Mizner Park (Downtown Boca) in the former Jazziz spot.  The 325-seat restaurant reflects the core concept of Ouzo Bay’s flagship location in Baltimore, Maryland, which opened in 2013 to rave reviews, and has been named the #1 restaurant in the city by Baltimore Magazine, which offers contemporary Mediterranean cuisine with a strong Greek influence.

 

Ouzo Bay’s interior was designed to reflect the Greek influences in a modern way. The signature blue accent lighting throughout the restaurant helps to create an upscale, yet relaxed atmosphere. Comfortably seating roughly 225 inside and 100 on the outside patio, there are also separate lounge sections inside and outside, as well as a 30-seat private cigar lounge attached to the restaurant. “With Ouzo Bay Boca Raton, we will continue to bring our customers the finest quality ingredients from the Mediterranean, matched by our chic bar atmosphere,” says Alexander Smith of the Atlas Group Restaurant, owners of Ouzo Bay. “We feel that Mizner Park and Boca Raton will be a perfect fit for our fish flown in fresh daily from around the world complemented with handmade cocktails and an enormous wine and spirits list.”

Highlighted by a variety of Whole Fish flown in daily from around the world, the menu includes only the freshest and finest-quality ingredients.  Complimenting the seafood menu, Ouzo Bay also has an extensive selection of fine-quality cuts of grass fed lamb, prime beef and organic chicken.  In addition to the impressive culinary lineup, Ouzo Bay’s posh full-service bar is overseen by Bradford White, the restaurant’s resident Sommelier/Beverage Manager and features handcrafted cocktails, small-batch whiskeys and a […]

Baciami Italiano (‘Kiss Me’ in Italian)

Hello Foodie Friends,

Today I share with you a new restaurant opening in the heart of Boynton Beach… Baciami Italiano, (Italian for ‘kiss me’) is an authentic Italian dining destination owned by father and son restaurateur duo Steven Pellegrino, Sr., and Steven Pellegrino, Jr., of Delray Beach’s famed Prime Steak & Seafood and Il Bacio Restaurant & Night Club. Introducing a revolving menu of weekly specials, including daily happy hour (Offering an expansive selection of wines, beers and cocktails), Ladies’ Pie & Wine Night, Family Dinner and Maine Lobster specials. Baciami Italiano is the “new place to be” in Boynton Beach!

 

In addition to these offerings, Baciami features an imported authentic Neapolitan pizza oven to cook pizza in under 3 minutes and a diverse Italian menu orchestrated by classically-trained Chef, Anthony Ianniello – all served up with unparalleled hospitality.

There are many ways in which you can enjoy your experience at Baciami Italiano; dine al fresco on their patio or take a seat at their cozy bar or choose to sit in the main dining area which can accommodate party sizes ranging from couples to large family gatherings. The restaurant also offers additional private dining space for groups of 25 – 60 people, including a private dining room with built in audio visual capabilities and a private lounge area for social dining experiences.

I recently attended a media dinner to check this new dining destination out. Here’s what we had:

Other menu highlights include Grilled Octopus with baby arugula, white beans, potato, Anthony’s Sunday Gravy with meatballs, sausage, braciole, Guiseppe Coco jumbo rigatoni, Chicken Milanese with arugula, baby tomatoes, truffle oil. Guests of Baciami will find a diverse list of imported and domestic wines by the glass and by the bottle to […]

Boon’s Asian Bistro

Hello Foodie Friends,

Today’s feature is on Boon’s Asian Bistro in West Delray Beach, FL.  (W. Atlantic Avenue and just east of the Turnpike) There is another Boon’s (related) in West Boca on 441, however, this one has a completely different menu. Boon’s Asian Bistro features cuisines from all over Asia, including Japan, China, Thailand and the Philippines.

Boon’s embodies Buddha’s philosophy to seek happiness through peaceful harmony with themselves and the environment. In this respect, they strive to provide sustainable, antibiotic & hormone-free food where guests’ complete satisfaction is their mission. They strive to be a place where even the unexpressed wishes or needs of their guests are fulfilled. Their pledge is to provide a dining atmosphere where guests will not only enjoy the highest quality of fresh, locally sourced foods from farms and artisans from around the world but provide a fun, relaxed environment where traditional dining norms are ignored and/or broken.

I was recently invited to dine as a guest of the restaurant during their soft opening. My companion and I had the opportunity to sample a nice cross section of the menu.

Tuna tartare with Casava Chips. This appetizer was very light and fresh and each component of the dish complemented each other. I especially loved using the Casava chips to scoop up each bite.

The Tom Kha Gai soup was outstanding. Full of flavor and mushrooms that have been cooked, as compared to most places that serve this dish with uncooked mushrooms. I believe the cooked mushrooms added another layer of depth and flavor.

Lobster roll. Most lobster rolls I have had contain battered & fried lobster inside the roll; this one utilized Maine lobster that had been poached in its shell and was very light. It was […]

Tommy Bahama is Serving Up The Aloha Spirit

Hello Foodie Friends,

While on my trip to Orlando last week, I got invited to participate in an impromptu tasting by my Instagram friend Chef Matt Oakley from Tommy Bahama. It was an honor and I was so excited to meet Chef Matt and taste his food since I began following him on Instagram.

I was immediately shown the “Aloha” spirit when I walked through the doors and was greeted warmly by the hostess who proceeded to ask if I was Denise.  With a big smile, I answered yes and then was asked to follow her to a table that had been set up for me.

The Pineapple Paradisio, made with Bacardi Pineapple and St. Germain Elderflower was waiting for me on my table when I arrived. As I progressed through the tasting, two other cocktails were presented. The Coconut Cloud, made with Ron Matusalem Platino, Stoli Vanil, Cruzan Coconut and Cream of Coconut and the Mai Tai, made with Flor de Caña 4 Year, Orgeat, Orange Curaçao, Lemon, Lime, Pineapple and a Dark Rum Float. Although I am not familiar with several of the above mentioned ingredients, that didn’t stop me one bit from enjoying them immensely! (Don’t worry, not all three cocktails were consumed to their entirety during my tasting)

After meeting Chef Matt and chatting with him for a bit, he told me that Tommy Bahama and their restaurants serving Island fare have been around since 1993; the first one opened in Naples, FL. Today they can be found spreading the Island cheer all around the globe. This Tommy Bahama happened to be the company’s Research & Development for their restaurants and Chef Matt works closely with their corporate chef to create some of the menu items. (The […]

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