I am excited to share with you part one of a two-part series on my experience at the Marriott on Singer Island. I had been invited by the property’s PR firm for quite some time now to come experience a meal at their signature restaurant, 3800 Ocean and I finally was able to make that happen. Let me tell you, it is well worth the 45-minute drive it took us from South East Boca. Speaking for myself and I’m guessing that many of you might fall into this category as well, when it comes to deciding on where to dine, hotel restaurants may not be on the forefront of your mind with the multitude of choices that abound. Well, I’m here to set the record straight and possibly get you to rethink this notion forever more. 3800 Ocean at the Marriott Singer Island is as good as it gets and shouldn’t just be enjoyed by visiting guests, but by us local foodies as well.
The Marriott Singer Island has several dining experiences available:
3800 Ocean: Ocean views share the spotlight with South Florida’s abundant harvest at the resort’s signature restaurant. The 3800 Ocean menu reflects a “collective kitchen” inspired by the cultural backgrounds of each of its chefs – from New England and Long Island to Mexico and Jamaica – who bring their own personal influences to a rich bounty of local seafood and produce. Complementing the menu is an extensive wine list. Elegant interiors and an expansive covered patio give guests a choice of dining environments. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Kitchen Table: This one-of-a-kind experience, for groups of no more than five, takes diners with adventurous palates into the 3800 Ocean kitchen for a five-course menu created on the spot by the executive chef. The dinner typically spans three hours and is priced at $69 per person, with cocktail and wine pairings on request. Available Thursday through Saturday evenings; reservations required a minimum 24 hours in advance.
3800 Ocean Lounge: An inviting gathering spot for guests and locals, the lounge serves a casual lunch menu daily, exotic cocktails and bar fare every evening, and happy hour Monday through Friday.
Reef Tiki Bar: A casual menu of Pacific Rim cuisine is offered on the beach, complemented by cocktails handmade with fresh juices. The resort’s signature Coconut Island Breeze is served here in a fresh cracked coconut and is a popular choice at the bar’s Bubbles on the Beach happy hour. Open for lunch and happy hour daily.
Lagoon Cantina: Fresh-made margaritas, Mexican specialties and grilled fare are the draw at this poolside, Caribbean-style cantina. Open for lunch to resort guests and spa members/guests only.
Ocean Breeze Café: Starbucks drinks, pastries, salads and wraps are served to guests seeking a quick bite on the go.
In case you’re not familiar with Singer Island, it’s a peninsula (barrier island) on the Atlantic coast of Palm Beach County, Florida, in the South Florida metropolitan area. Most of it is in the city of Riviera Beach, but the town of Palm Beach Shores occupies its southern tip. The Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa is Palm Beach County’s only all-suite beachfront hotel, with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other, it offers a wealth of opportunities for adventures on land and sea.
3800 Ocean has a VERY extensive & impressive wine list along with a whole lot of hand crafted cocktails and bourbons to choose from. For starters, we tried the seafood ceviche and the tostones rellenos. Both were superb dishes. I could have stopped right there (along with the glass of New Zealand Sauv Blanc) and had been a happy camper, but wait…there’s more…
Even though I was already quite stuffed, I just had to make room for what has to be one of the most creative desserts I have ever had. The S’mores pot de creme. Take a look at this beauty! House Made Marshmallow, Graham Shortbread, Chocolate Pot De Crème, Biscoff Malto (OMG, Yum!!!)
After lunch, we were given a tour of the property which we really appreciated. The grounds are gorgeous and although non hotel guests are invited to dine at 3800 Ocean, you must be staying at the property in order to access these other areas:
Later this summer I will be coming back to stay overnight in order to fully immerse myself into all the amenities that this lovely beachfront property has to offer. Stay tuned for part two of this feature highlighting this hot staycation destination.
Head Chef and co-owner Monique Buchbinder (the name MoBu is derived from the first two letters of her first and last name), earned her degree from the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan prior to working as a chef at Per Se (the sixth highlest Michelin rated restaurant) and at the famed Nobu in Miami (yes, you might say there might have been a tad bit of influence behind her restaurant’s chosen name) before deciding to become a private chef taking on catering jobs and hosting dinner parties in Manhattan, Naples and Miami. She began cooking for a gentleman named Bruce who moved to South Florida from New York. When Chef Monique expressed her interest in opening her own restaurant one day to Bruce, he realized her talent in the kitchen was too good to keep all to himself and decided to help back her. Bruce’s daughter, Brooke, MoBu’s General Manager and Marketing Director, handles the front of house and community events, while Chef Monique makes magic in the kitchen. In addition to making dishes that are filled with flavor, Chef Monique makes dishes that are sensitive to healthy diets and food allergies, including nut-free and gluten-conscious (gc) items in addition to vegan, organic, vegetarian diets. Seasonally inspired, beautifully plated, and sourced from some of the world’s most vibrant cultures, Mobu’s dishes leave guests filled with a revitalized love for cuisine and community.
Sourcing foodie favorites from Asian, French, and Caribbean cultures, MoBu Fusion Cafe in Boca Raton is where folks come to enjoy international cuisine in an elegant local atmosphere. Using fresh ingredients as her brushes and plates as her palettes, Chef Monique only works with the best food suppliers so you can expect to always enjoy the most delicious and freshest ingredients. From beautifully presented appetizers and main dishes, to tantalizing desserts, you will be in food heaven.
Relax and unwind in their beautiful patio dining area, where you will be surrounded by nature & water. This is where our group of bloggers gathered for a brunch tasting. Every dish that was brought out had a flare to it and each was exceptional. We started out with an Amuse Bouche of Tuna Poke (gc) artfully plated on a black slate. Next was the Banana Bread French Toast, which was my personal favorite. On top of this most wonderful gluten-conscious French toast (which I still can’t get over had little to no gluten) was bananas foster, Marsala wine, whipped cream and berries. I believe I am drooling as I am writing this now. lol! Our next course was a Crab Egg Benedict which featured lovely lump crab cakes topped with poached cage-free eggs and a delicious hollandaise sauce. The final tasting of the day was the Tuna Poke Bowl which was made with sushi grade tuna loin, on top of quinoa, brown rice, avocado, sesame seeds and cucumbers.
In addition to their wonderfully yummy brunch menu, they have a simple yet well thought out dinner menu as well with wonderful selections from land to sea. MoBu’s first 5 course Chef’s Table dinner is scheduled for this Friday evening, April 20th. For details, click here.
MoBu Fusion Cafe is located at 1159 South Federal Highway in Boca Raton. Delivery is available through Delivery Dudes. Catering is also available.
My birthday happened to fall on a Friday this year, the weekend of Passover and Easter and to get things kicked off, I decided to accept an invitation to dine at The Winemakers Table in Delray Beach. I had been hearing wonderful things about this place but just hadn’t been able to get there. That is until I met Tom and Michelle Ferraro, the brother and sister team who co-own this little treasure. I met Tom and Michelle purely by coincidence one evening while they happened to be on one of my weekly culinary tours in Royal Palm Place invited by their Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor.
The Winemakers Table opened 8 months ago and let me tell you, if you didn’t know any better, you’d think your gps took you to the wrong place. It was dark when we arrived and we both questioned whether we were in the right place as we pulled in to what appeared to be an industrial area with nothing but warehouse bays in front of us. (Side note: it’s actually a Corporate Center, albeit pretty remote) The Ferraro’s, who previously owned Ferraro’s on Glades, which they sold, were looking for a small place that would be out of the hustle & bustle of Atlantic Avenue where patrons would not worry about parking. The converting of this “warehouse” space into a cozy living/dining room enabled them to see this vision through. They wanted to create an atmosphere where guests could enjoy their meal, relax & not feel rushed that their table must be turned over.
Tom welcomed us at our table shortly after we were seated and after asking us if we had any food allergies or dietary restrictions to which we replied no, he proceeded to tell us he had a lovely four course pairing that was being prepared for us and would be out shortly. I couldn’t wait! First up was a pear and endive salad with Gorgonzola and hints of vanilla in the vinaigrette that paired excellently with the Prosecco that was served with it. The dressing was sooooo good that I wanted to just pick up my bowl and lick every last drop. (of course, I resisted, hehe).
The next course was pear & pasta purses with a red creamy sauce made from San Marzano tomatoes and paired with a Chardonnay. Fresh hot & yummy garlic bread was also presented during this course. The pursers were packed with flavor and cooked just to our liking, although I’m not 100% convinced that the Chardonnay was the right pairing (at least for me, but also full disclosure, I’m not a huge Chardonnay fan).
Sesame seared yellow fin tuna with rock shrimp, (fruit de mare) cucs & house made lemon vinaigrette paired quite exceptionally with a Burgundy (not pictured, sorry,) was our third course.
Our final tasting of the evening was Banana Foster Pot de Creme, Chocolate lava cake and Coconut cake paired with a 1960 Chateau port wine ($1250/bottle). While all three desserts were outstanding, the chocolate lava cake with the port was the best, in my opinion.
They have a private room that can seat up to 30 ppl!!!
The Winemakers Table is open Tues – Sat 5 – 11pm, however they are available 7 days a week for private events.
They are located at 2875 S Congress Ave, Delray Beach, FL 33445
It was this time last year that I wrote about Harvest Seasonal Grill and their opening in Delray the previous Fall. Since then, I’ve been back numerous times to enjoy the creative seasonally-inspired dishes of Executive Chef Bill Ring.
I was invited to dine as a guest of The Gab Group, the PR firm representing Harvest. I brought along my long time foodie friend and newcomer to the blogging scene Patrice from @ForkAndACork. We started off with our choice of cocktails. When I saw the rosé sangria was back on the menu, I immediately chose that for my selection. I’m not ordinarily a fan of rosé, but when Reba, Harvest’s Marketing & Events Manager, first introduced this Rosé Strawberry Rhubarb Sangria last year, it was love at first sip. The key is to make sure that the glass has lots of ice and is served super chill too! Patrice enjoyed her Red Mango Apricot Sangria very much as well.
Next, we decided on a couple apps: the Thai sesame beef lettuce wraps and the sweet pea & avocado toast. The Thai beef wraps were the star of the two for me.
For the entrées, we tried the cedar roasted salmon which was seasoned and cooked to perfection! We both really loved this dish and I also really enjoyed how Chef Bill prepared the side of veggies (squash, zucchini & carrots). The second entrée was not necessarily a new dish, but the Super Grain Bowl is now being presented in a new fashion and can be found under the “bowls” section. We chose chicken as our protein but you can select the protein of your choice. The dish, in our opinion, was a little dry and needed some more of the sauce that it came with. Once our server brought us over some more and we were able to incorporate it into each bite, it was quite yummy.
The signature tray of mini desserts was brought our way to tempt us. There were so many wonderful varieties to choose from and we chose the chocolate salted caramel mousse and the walnut fudge brownie. Both were soooooo good!!!!
Be sure to check out my previous write up on Harvest Seasonal Grill to get a little more info on the restaurant.
Harvest Seasonal Grill is located in the Delray Place shopping plaza at1841 S. Federal Highway, #402, Delray Beach, FL 33483. For more information or to make a reservation, call (561) 266-3239 or visit www.harvestseasonalgrill.com.
The city of Lake Worth has a winning card up its sleeve when it comes to competing for your dinner spending dollars- a tapas bar for comfort food and board games named .
Located at 510 Lucerne Avenue, their style has a modern farmhouse flair of which TV house-flipper Joanna Gaines would be proud. 3 of Hearts offers tapas-style shareable plates and an entire wall of board games to enjoy. Specializing in elevated comfort food, they also have specialty cocktails. It’s the perfect choice for an evening out with friends as the menu is full of items which are served in 3’s.
The number three is special to the family-run operation. Simply called the ‘boss’, Robyn explained that three represents her, her sister, and the memory of her little sister. She passed away before the restaurant became a reality, but encouraged Robyn to go after her dream in the first place. “This opened the idea of the three theme, to keep my sister involved.”
At our visit to the restaurant, we started with the Wine Fashioned and White Herb Sangria. The Wine Fashioned was a fruity take on the classic Old Fashioned. The blend of red and port wines was delicious and didn’t compromise the smoky notes characteristic of the classic drink. Popular in the summer, their signature honey sage sangria was refreshing with plenty of supple fruit on the bottom.
As for the food, they have a jam-packed selection. Homemade by Chef John, they even offer the recipe to make our personal favorite, the strawberry basil jam. The Chef is also Robyn’s nephew. When it comes to working with so many of her family members supporting her Robyn said, “it’s great to have so many people you trust to put their heads together to think through an idea or problem.” It works like a family unit because they compliment each other, yet aren’t afraid to disagree. “We talk through things,” she added, “there’s no threat to challenge each other since there’s unconditional love there.”
Another signature trend on the menu is their fun flips from savory to sweet. On the savory side, we loved the oven dried tomato and the drunken mushroom duxelle jams. Served with perfectly crisped crostini, it was a beautifully plated gourmet spread. Don’t feel like sharing? Meat ragu, chicken 3 ways, or a good-old burger and a pickle are also on the menu.
Catch their weekly trivia night on Tuesday’s from 7:30-9:30. We suggest coming in early to grab a prime table outside and ordering their grilled cheese fingers (you’ll thank us later).
Hours: T-F 3pm-10pm, Sat 2pm-11pm, Sun 11am-4pm (brunch)
I had the great pleasure of being invited to the pre-opening of the latest True Food Kitchen, this one, the first to open in Boca Raton, is located at the Boca Town Center; its philosophy is simple: Food should make you feel better — not worse — and you shouldn’t have to sacrifice taste to live a healthier lifestyle. I am happy to report that I wholeheartedly concur. I enjoyed every single bite and left feeling terrific and yearning for my next visit back.
Co-founded by integrative medicine expert Dr. Andrew Weil and nine-time James Beard Award nominee for Restaurateur of the Year Sam Fox, True Food Kitchen’s progressive and flavor-forward menu is rooted in the principles of Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet and caters to foodie palates and preferences with a variety of gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan offerings for brunch, lunch, dinner and cocktails.
Based on the principles of the anti-inflammatory food pyramid, True Food Kitchen’s regularly rotating menu underscores the brand’s commitment to merging wholesome seasonal ingredients and simple preparations to let guests experience produce at the peak of its freshness and flavor.
The cocktail list is well thought out and the ingredients are super fresh and you can tell the difference for sure! On this initial visit, my companion and I tried the Pomegranate Mule and the Ginger Margarita. Thumbs up for both. (Side note: on my next visit back, I was torn between one of their non alcoholic Refreshers – the Pomegranate Chia Limeade and a cocktail. My server told me not to fret, I could have both. You can have your alcohol of choice added to any of their Refreshers & Teas to make it your special blend. I love that!).
The stand out dish for me, which I got on both my visits and will continue to come back for is the charred cauliflower. Just get it and you will thank me, I promise! We also really liked the Winter Squash Toast. The Inside Out Quinoa Burger was outstanding, and so was the service. My friend and I were sharing multiple plates and after the server described the dish as stacked, we asked if she thought we could split it. She not only said yes but offered to have them split it for us in the back. It was incredible. I had the Moroccan Chicken, which I felt could have benefitted from simmering a little longer in order to have the full Moroccan flavors incorporated. We also tried the grilled steak tacos and these were very tasting and filled us up sufficiently without feeling bloated.
I have been telling all my friends about this place, whether they have issues with inflammation or other dietary restrictions or not. It’s 100% legit. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Hours of Operation
Mon – Thurs: 11am – 10pm
Fri: 11am – 10pm
Sat: 10am – 10pm
Sun: 10am – 9pm
Brunch: Sat & Sun | 10am – 4pm
Sam Fox, Fox Restaurant Concepts
Dr. Andrew Weil
True Food Kitchen is a health-driven, seasonal kitchen & scratch bar merging nutrient-rich ingredients with a seasonal menu that rotates regularly to let guests experience great-tasting ingredients at the peak of their freshness and flavor. Rooted in the principles of Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory food pyramid, the full-service restaurant caters to nearly every food preference with a variety of gluten-free, naturally organic, vegetarian and vegan offerings. True Food Kitchen’s scratch bar is brimming with a wide selection of fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices, seasonal cocktails, wine and local beers. The open kitchen brings guests closer to its culinary craft while the outdoor patio pairs fresh food with fresh air.
True Food Kitchen is known for its healthy, seasonal fare and signature dishes like the include the Spaghetti Squash Casserole, Sustainable Seabass, Tuscan Kale Salad, Grilled Fish & Grass-fed Steak Tacos and the Inside Out Quinoa Burger, among many others. The menu also features a handful of seasonal items like the Roasted Heirloom Carrots, Winter Squash Toast, Butternut Squash Pizza and Seasonal Ingredient Salad as well as a variety of bowl options featuring a diverse range of flavor profiles including the Ancient Grains, Cashew Pad Thai, Spicy Panang Curry and the Teriyaki Quinoa.
True Food also features antioxidant-packed desserts like the famed Flourless Chocolate Cake and the seasonal Squash Pie. Weekend brunch highlights include the Smashed Avocado Toast, Sunrise Bowl, and the Quinoa Johnny Cakes. Behind the scratch bar are natural juices, teas, and refreshers all of which can be paired with organic and gluten-free spirits for a delicious cocktail ripe with flavor including the Citrus Skinny Margarita, Pomegranate Mule, Orchard Bourbon Sour and the Farmers Market Sangria.
The Kids Menu features creative, kid-friendly dishes like the Almond Butter, Banana & Apple Sandwich, Mozzarella & Organic Tomato Pizza and the Chicken Teriyaki Bowl to name a few.
True Food Kitchen at Town Center at Boca Raton features a lively dining room with 175 seats and an open kitchen designed to bring guests closer to the restaurant’s culinary craft. An outdoor covered patio will seat approximately 66 guests in season. Indoors, natural woods and vibrant, localy-inspired artwork add a contemporary touch to the earthy color scheme, natural elements and greenery, including indoor/outdoor garden basins filled with fresh herbs and spices. Eco-friendly materials are utilized throughout the restaurant, such as the hardwood floors, which are made of reclaimed wood, and dining chairs made of recycled soda bottles.
DR. ANDREW WEIL
A world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, Dr. Andrew Weil is a best-selling author and editorial director of DrWeil.com, the leading online resource for healthy living based on the philosophy of integrative medicine. One of Dr. Weil’s national bestsellers,
“True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure”, is an inspiration to all dishes served at True Food Kitchen. The restaurant closely adheres to Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet and pyramid, which aims to counteract chronic inflammation and help people achieve and maintain optimum health.
True Food Kitchen is the realization of creative visionary and Fox Restaurant Concepts founder, Sam Fox, known for his passion for great food, design, lifestyle and hospitality. An eight-time James Beard Award nominee for Restaurateur of the Year, and New York Times best-selling cookbook author, Sam was recently named one of the 50 most influential people in the restaurant industry by Nation’s Restaurant News for the second consecutive year, is the 2014 recipient of the Richard Melman Innovator of the Year Award by Restaurant Hospitality magazine, and the 2015 recipient University of Arizona Executive of the Year by Eller College of Management.
We are pleased to report that award-winning restaurateurs Burt Rapoport and Dennis Max have come together once again to resurrect the once-celebrated, Prezzo. A fixture in the 90s in Boca Raton, Aventura and South Miami, Prezzo brings back fond memories for area residents who remember the restaurant serving rustic Italian cuisine with a cool vibe. The first location was opened in Boca Raton in 1989. Fans will be happy to know that their signature roasted garlic and focaccia bread sticks are back. Joining the dynamic duo for this revival is James Beard Award-winning chef, Mark Militello, who leads the kitchen as executive chef.
The garlic, breadsticks and other memorable favorites such as the wood-oven apple tart, fusilli & chicken pasta and the wood-fired pizzas all made a comeback on the new menu along a selection of Italian-inspired and health-conscious entrees.
The centerpiece of the 4,300-square-foot restaurant are the sights and smells wafting from the wood-burning oven known for producing crispy, thin-crust pizzas and amazing chicken wings among other signature dishes. Did you know that Prezzo introduced the first wood-fired pizza oven to South Florida when it opened its first location in Boca Raton in 1989!?
I was invited to a tasting with along with other media/bloggers. I started off with a most delicious glass of baby Amarone. I savored every last drop. The food kept flowing: from the signature roasted garlic and yummy crusty bread (served complimentary to all dining guests), Prosciutto de Parma pizza, chicken wings with caramelized onions, arancini, beet salad, salmon and their famous wood-fired apple tart served with cinnamon gelato.
Seating consists of 120 inside and 50 seats on the patio. Prezzo also features a spacious indoor/outdoor bar area, complete with a creative cocktail menu and expansive wine list curated by Bar Manager and Master Mixologist, Arturo Sighinolfi. The cozy 20-seat bar will surely become a local hotspot for happy hour.
Open for lunch Mon – Fri 11:30am – 2pm and dinner Sun – Thurs 4:30pm – 9pm; Fri & Sat 4:30pm – 10pm
Park Place Plaza | 5560 N. Military Trail. Boca Raton, FL 33496 561-314-6840 www.prezzoboca.com
Follow Prezzo’s and share your memories using #OnlyAtPrezzo @PrezzoBoca
I am sorry for the big lapse between blog posts. So much has been happening with the expansion of Savor Our City. We are getting very close to rolling out our new website and are super excited to make the big reveal. Stay tuned to that…
I had the chance to go into the new Paris Morning Bakery in Boca, located on Powerline in the plaza between Camino Real and Palmetto Park Rd. We’ve been following each other for a little while on Instagram and I was excited to receive an invitation from them to come in for a tasting.
I hadn’t had a chance to thoroughly look over the menu in advance and didn’t know much about the restaurant prior to my arrival. I did know they served Bubble Tea and I also knew they had pastries. I assumed with a name like Paris in the title that they’d be French pastries. To my surprise, I learned that the food inspiration comes from Korea, where the company’s corporate team are from.
I had the opportunity to meet James the Manager of the Boca location. We had a nice long chat as I got to sample some of the menu offerings. Had to start with the Bubble Tea. They had soooooo many wonderful flavors that it was hard to make a decision. Well, that’s not entirely true. It wasn’t such a hard decision to make once I saw “Passion fruit” listed. For those of you who have been reading my posts for some time, you know that I have an obsession for all things truffle: truffle Parm fries, truffle honey, truffle aioli and the list goes on and on. Well here’s another something that I’m totally “passionate” about – it’s Passion fruit. I just adore this fruit juice. So, once I saw it on the Bubble Tea menu, it was a no brainer. It was every bit as good as I hoped! I sampled several of their pastries which they have packaged so nicely with little samples and descriptions found beside each one. Smart and Yummy!
James took me up to the counter and introduced me to Zipbop, (pronounced Jeep Bop) authentic Korean Dishes served with rice in a 24oz cup with different fresh ingredients. There were several zipbop dishes to choose from. I tried the eel and the Korean beef.
While both dishes were served warm and had nice flavor and texture, the eel was my favorite. I felt like I was eating a deconstructed eel sushi roll. It was amazing. I couldn’t stop eating it.
Savor Our City hosted a media dinner for Tanjore Indian Cuisine. Check out this article published in The Boca Raton Tribune:
Contemporary Eclectic Indian cuisine – a “Must Try”
By Kenny Spahn
If you’re hungry for a taste of something different, put Tanjore Indian Cuisine on your “Must Try” list. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking at the mention of Indian food: “a lunch buffet full of unknown dishes that all look alike and taste like spicy curry.” And, admittedly, that’s what you’ll find at many Indian restaurants in America. But Tanjore Owner Christopher Corda (originally from Bombay) and Chef Yogi Dhwale set out to give south Florida a different taste of Indian food. The result is a unique (and delicious!) dining experience, blending traditional Indian cooking with a modern eclectic twist within a sleek and sophisticated setting, located in downtown Boca’s Royal Palm Place (taking the place of the former Indian restaurant, Sapphire.
So what makes Tanjore different? First and foremost, the ingredients. Indian cuisine is all about the spices, and this is where Tanjore truly exceeds the norm. As Christopher explains, not only does he source his ingredients directly from India; but he also he also gets the spices in their fresh whole state (rather than settling for institutionally prepared dried spices), and then roasts and grinds them in-house, thereby maximizing their full nuances and fragrances. The spices are roasted in the authentic tandoor ovens (traditional Indian clay pots), which further imbues all those wonderful notes into the vessels themselves, imbuing subtle dimension to all of their temporary tenants. Speaking of tandoor ovens, Tanjore uses authentic Indian clay tandoors, and then ups the ante by adding dried Applewood chips inside, thus infusing subtle fruity-smokiness. Chef Yogi also composes his own spice blends such as curries, garam masala, and a powdered peppery mix known as ‘gunpowder.’ Another big difference: Tanjore offers representative dishes from all across India, not just one region – hence its tagline, “Modern Eclectic Indian.” Also note Tanjore’s sexy and sophisticated modern ambience with an open, airy feel, clean white walls with cobalt blue accents, and crisp linens. There’s also a full bar with some creative craft cocktails, which always helps!
Indian cuisine is a veritable symphony of divergent flavors and sensations, each of which sings in its own distinctive voice, yet all meld together in an alchemistic-like harmony. The flavor characteristics span the culinary gamut, exciting every nook & cranny of the taste buds: The familiar autumnal glow of cinnamon, nutmeg, and mace; the exotic smoky notes of cumin, coriander, turmeric, and saffron; the warming sweet-spice of clove, cardamom, and carom seeds; the licorice-like taste of anise, fennel, and star anise; the intriguing sweet-tart umami of tamarind and kaffir lime leaves; the savory zip of garlic and ginger; the offsetting sweetness of coconut, cashews, and fenugreek; the warming heat of peppers and chilies, ranging from very mild to insanely hot (including Ghost Pepper (Bhoot Jhooakiya), with a scorching Scoville rating topping one million units!); the cooling creaminess of thickened yogurt and coconut milk; the acidic pungency of lime zest, ginger juice, vinegars, and pickling spices; the bright enhancement of fresh herbs (namely mint, chives, and fenugreek leaves); and the complex amalgamation of distinctively Indian blends like garam masala, curries, gunpowder, and chutneys of all sorts. One thing for sure – you won’t need any salt, pepper, or hot sauce here, as each bite is a flavor explosion in your mouth. Another benefit: These spices are bursting with of medicinal and health benefits – just check your local health food store, and you’ll find almost all of them in compound and pill form.
Chef Yogi then selectively utilizes these varying components in each of his dishes, from appetizers to desserts. In true Indian fashion, you won’t find beef or pork offerings at Tanjore, but you will find an array of proteins (chicken, lamb, seafood, and fish), starches & legumes (rice, lentils, chickpeas, and potatoes of all kinds), and veggies (i.e., cauliflower, spinach, sweet peppers, onions); plus an array of fresh herbs, nuts, seeds, and other enhancements. You’ll also find some unexpected ingredients you wouldn’t expect with Indian cuisine — from venison, pen hen, and branzino; to balsamic vinegar, rum, and tequila; to mozzarella, mangosteen, shitake mushrooms, green apples, and truffle oil.
If you’re a lamb lover, Tanjore is your place, offering perhaps the largest selection of lamb dishes in town — over a dozen. Paiala Ghosh, for instance, is slow-braised until tender goodness in a savory broth enhanced with caramelized onions, black cardamom, house-roasted garam masala, and ‘hung’ yogurt (the Indian version of Greek yogurt). It’s a savory and heartwarming dish reminiscent of braised short rib, that says “comfort food” in any language. Lamb is treated to a surprising conglomeration of creamy cashew “milk,” malt vinegar, and green apples in the Lamb Shahi Korma; while Lamb Shank (Dum Pukht), Lamb Chops, Lamb Saagwala (in a mild spinach puree with ginger), and Leg of Lamb are some other lamby options. There’s just as many Chicken dishes, like Tikka Masala in a nutmeg-napped creamy sauce, Chicken Korma (with green apple, cashews, fresh herbs, and apple cider vinegar), a ginger-kissed Chicken Curry, and of course, the iconic Tandoori Chicken (from the Punjab region), baked in the signature Tandoori oven with a special blend of tandoori spices, along with ginger and lime juice.
Seafood fans will appreciate the many aquatic offerings. Of particular note, the Pastooni Lobster Masala — a house specialty that will give you a whole new perspective on Indian cuisine. Delicate morsels of fresh lobster tail and shitake mushrooms are sautéed in a Chablis, ‘clotted turmeric’ (turmeric-infused coconut milk), and enriched tomato broth. The unique concoction is presented within the fresh coconut shell, adorned with the empty lobster tail shells, thus adding further visual appeal. Another signature dish is Malai Halibut — fresh local halibut sautéed in a fragrant coconut milk bath studded with an intriguing blend of mace, cardamom, ginger juice, lemongrass, and coconut milk. Yum!
Other delights from the sea include whole Branzino (Noorani), Jhor Jhinga Prawns (sautéed in unique seasoned butter), Tamilian Fish Curry (Mahi Mahi in a savory coconut cream base), Garlic Shrimp Bhuna, and Bajlele Grilled Pompano. Of course vegetarians will have fun experiencing the many veggie offerings, from basic sides to complex entrees. Broiled cauliflower with potatoes (Sindhil Aloo Gobi), Mushrooms with Cipollini onions in a tangy tomato sauce (Khumb Jalfrezi), Japanese eggplant with desiccated (flaked) coconut, peanuts, and hung yogurt (Baingan Saraf), Corn Kababs with cumin, coriander, and ‘gunpowder,’ and several versions of Paneer (a fresh mild cheese with a dense crumbly texture, somewhat reminiscent of queso fresco) are just some of the many meatless options.
Of course no Indian meal is complete without some of that wonderful Naan, the quintessential Indian staple. Naan is an Indian flatbread, traditionally cooked in the tandoor oven. The dough is formed into a circle and then literally stuck onto the wall of the tandoor oven. After a few minutes, the chef ‘peels’ the bread from the oven (you know it’s the real deal when the cooks all have burn marks on their knuckles!). The Naan comes out of the oven, puffed up like a balloon and still hot, wonderfully fragrant, bearing the slight char and subtle crunch of a wood-fired pizza crust, yet still soft and pillowy like a just-made pita. Tanjore makes renditions, including traditional plain, Rosemary, Garlic, Onion, Whole Wheat, and even a Mushroom & Truffle naan!
The lunch menu features most of the dinner items, plus other special lunch offerings. In true Indian custom, lunches are presented in Tiffins, metal tins that stack upon each other and then interlock into one convenient “lunchbox.” You’re presented with a shiny stack of four tins, each containing a different entrée, rice, or veggie.
For dessert, Gajrela is a truly unique Indian specialty, an intriguing caramelized Carrot Pudding with pistachios and cashews, accompanied by vanilla ice cream and raspberry coulis. Other sweet endings include traditional mango and pistachio ice cream, caramelized basmati rice pudding with pistachios, and a refreshing Coconut Sorbet served in a fresh coconut shell. Complete the experience with some liquid refreshment from the full bar, including some very creative specialty cocktails, and an impressive list of cordials, scotches and brandies, plus a large selection of specialty teas.
I must admit, I harbored some negative thoughts on Indian food myself based upon past experience. But a visit to Tanjore gave me a whole new perspective and appreciation of Indian cuisine. So the next time you’re in the mood for some ethnic food, bypass the usual Italian, Mexican, or Chinese, and go Indian – at Tanjore!
Tanjore Indian Cuisine is located in Royal Palm Place (500 Via De Palmas #79), Boca Raton, FL 33432. Open daily for lunch and dinner, plus weekend Brunch. Private party facilities available, including an outdoor patio for up to 100 guests. For more information, call 561-288-5800 or visit: www.TanjoreUSA.com. Also Follow on Facebook & Instagram @TanjoreUSA
For more information about Restaurant Placement Group, visit www.RestaurantPlacement.com
Kenny Spahn is a renowned food critic and culinary columnist, and has published over 600 articles on the south Florida dining scene. The Boca Raton Tribune is proud to have Mr. Spahn as a contributor. Ken Spahn also heads up Restaurant Placement Group, an exclusive recruiting and consulting firm for the Restaurant, Food Service, and Hospitality industry. www.RestaurantPlacement.com
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 and where most restaurants make the bulk of their revenue for the week. Another constraint is cooking kosher; A kosher menu puts many things off limits. Of course, there is no pork or shellfish. Ditmas also is dairy-free, negating the need for the requisite separate kitchens and sets of equipment to handle meat and dairy. But Chef Alex and Chef Joe have learned and, if I may say, mastered how to adapt to cooking without certain popular ingredients and find the challenge is not so much what they are limited to cooking with, but pleasing the palates of the kosher clienteles’ tastes who are not so accustomed to more sophisticated interpretations on traditional kosher fare.
So how does Ditmas not only seem to be surviving these challenges, …er thriving despite them? I encourage you to head on into the restaurant yourself to experience these yummy creations and you will see just how it is Chef Alex & his team are winning over both kosher and non-kosher palates one bite at a time. You’ll be hooked too!
Ditmas is open for Lunch: Mon – Thurs 11:30 – 2:30 and Dinner – Sun – Thurs 5pm till 10pm
They are located in Central Boca Raton on Powerline Rd. between Palmetto and Glades Rd.