They say to find unknown treasures, you have to leave the beaten path. In Boca Raton, areas like Mizner Park and Royal Palm Place are downtrodden with first-time visitors to our sea-kissed town. Yet, it’s a little spot just south of city central where you can find a foodie experience truly delectable and adventurous in Saiko-i Sushi Lounge & Hibachi.
Saiko-i (pronounced sigh-koi-ee) Sushi Lounge & Hibachi is the creation of husband and wife team, Jason Zheng & Tina Wang. A 7,000 sq.ft. – formerly home to the local favorite nightclub, Gatsby’s – offers guests a selection of dining experiences. For casual affairs and networking events, sit in the outdoor courtyard or spacious bar. To be entertained, 11 hibachi tables wait to amuse, as well as an open exhibition sushi bar. But if an intimate dinner for two is on the menu, a romantic row of private booths amongst hand-selected artworks can accommodate.
I had the honor of experiencing Saiko-i with a number of other bloggers, writers, and foodies for the restaurant’s media night. While familiar with the Zheng & Wang’s first Boca restaurant, Yakitori Sake House, I wasn’t aware of Saiko-i. I pulled into an unassuming shopping center on Military and SW 18th St. – shared with an Outback Steakhouse nonetheless – questioning whether or not I was in the right place. Yet, as soon as I walked in the doors, I was swept into another locale altogether.
Upon entering, I paid quick homage to a 10-foot tall Buddha before being whisked to my table. A rich color template and delicate tapestries with fine detail adorn the interior of the entire restaurant. No detail was left to chance.
The night began with Saiko-i’s signature cocktail, the lychee martini. Made with fresh lychee juice, it was a martini perfect for those looking for a crisp drink with just a hint of sweetness. Also offered were Japanese beers and whiskeys alongside the usual American counterparts.
First order of the night delivered the salmon carpaccio. I smelled this dish before I even saw it, something I can’t ever recall saying about a raw carpaccio. The truffle oil and fried garlic scents made my stomach rumble with anticipation. Saiko-i attains fresh sushi-grade fish daily, hailing from both Florida local fisheries and Japan alike. I make no exaggeration when I say the carpaccio melted on my tongue.
Next was the roasted duck wrap, a mix of tender duck and savory spices wrapped in a lightly-fried, crisp Singapore flatbread – perfectly offset by a mango sauce and balsamic glaze.
By the end of the duck, I had sipped through my lychee martini and mixed it up with a selection of Japanese whiskeys, settling on the Suntory 10 year and Hibiki 12 year. Rounds of appetizers kept appearing. Dumpling-ilke Spicy Tuna Gyoza, a crunchy UFO Roll and the refreshing fresh fish medley that is the Sexy Lady Roll.
Being a fan of curries, I had to try Saiko-i’s red curry with scallops for my main dish. I asked for a bit more kick and the chefs behind the scenes got it just right. The portion was easily enough for two and I was glad to have lunch for the next day.
Despite being stuffed with the night’s appetizing creations, the team at Saiko-i wasn’t done with us yet. They had one more surprise. We had a birthday in the group and before we knew it a panda bear came to our table with a plate full of mochi – the perfect ending to an enchanting evening.
I’m very excited to share with you my excursion down to South Beach a few weeks ago to attend my very first Slow Food Miami event, where over 300 ravenous foodies joined an elite group of South Florida’s top chefs for the recent 6th Annual Slow Food Miami “Snail of Approval” Tasting Party.
What is Slow Food Miami you ask? Slow Food Miami supports our local community from the ground up – from the Edible School & Community Gardens that are planted to encourage the enjoyment of foods that are local, seasonal and sustainably grown; to the local growers and artisan food makers they support for their use of sustainable methods. Planting a fresher future for our children.
All proceeds from events such as The Slow Food Miami “Snail of Approval” along with donor contributions support local school and community gardens and points South Floridians and visitors to food that is good, clean and fair by identifying and honoring producers, purveyors and artisans who contribute to food and beverage quality, authenticity and sustainability. In its inaugural year (2010), nominations were solicited among Miami-Dade county farmers. Now nominations come from the general public and all nominations are vetted by the Slow Food Miami Snail of Approval Committee and donor contributions support local school and community gardens.
They are a non-profit, 100% volunteer organization. Their local members are passionate about good food, supporting local growers and celebrating Miami’s diversity. By acting locally, we are helping to build a world where the food we eat is good for us, good for farmers and workers, and good for the planet. Slow Food Miami is the local chapter of Slow Food USA and the International Slow Food Association.
Celebrity Chef/Owner of Malibu Farm and author of Malibu Farm Cookbook: Recipes from the California Coast, Helene Henderson hosted this year’s Slow Food Miami’s“Snail of Approval” Tasting Party. Regarded as Miami’s “Freshest Night Out”, the 6th Annual celebration was held Friday, March 24, 2017, at the Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort. This year, the unforgettable evening under the stars was made possible thanks to a partnership with Eden Roc, The Miami Scout Guide, Just Ask Boo, Vero Water, JetSet Sounds, FOH, J Wakefield Brewery, Menu Men, Inc., and wines sponsored by Twenty-One Wine & Spirits. The tasting party united dozens of the city’s top chefs, and local growers and producers for a night of tasting and honoring Miami’s food scene.
The soirée took place at the spectacular newly renovated Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort with ambient tunes by Michael Casola from JetSet Sounds. The first 100 tickets sold were priced at $75. After that, general admission tickets went to $85 per person with sales ending at noon on March 23. Tickets at the door were $100 per person. All event proceeds benefitted the Slow Food Miami’s Edible Garden Program. VIP Garden Sponsor tickets were available for $750 and included a garden box for a school, free entry to Freshest Night Out with early bird admission at 6:30PM and a signed copy of Helene Henderson’s Malibu Farm Cookbook: Recipes from the California Coast.
The Eden Roc’s fusion of fun and luxury was the perfect setting for this festive and sophisticated event where the “who’s who” in the South Florida culinary scene mingled about the lovely ocean front property. Guests indulged in tastes from Miami’s best farm-to-table, including a mix of current 2016-2017 “Snail of Approval” honorees and past “Snail of Approval” winners. This year’s chefs and food artisans included:
Helene Henderson (Malibu Farm)
Adrienne Grenier (3030 Ocean)
Paula DaSilva (Artisan Beach House)
Sean Brasel (Meat Market)
Jessica Weiss Levinson (Serendipity Creamery)
Frederic Joulin (Semilla)
Zak Stern (Zak the Baker)
Blair Wilson (Social Club @ The Surfcomber Hotel) * “2017 People’s Choice” AwardWinner
Brian Nasajon (Beaker & Gray)
Corey Bousquet and Evan Boomer (The Brick) – *2017 “Judges Choice” Winner
Andres Barrientos and James Bowers (Miami Smokers)
Allen Susser (Books & Books, Coral Gables)
Ray and Shannon Allen (Grown)
Carolina Quijano (exquisito chocolates)
Buster Brown (Counter Culture Kombucha)
Giorgio Rapicavoli (Glass and Vine)
Maria Laura Aleman (Artichoke Foods)
Della Heiman (della test kitchen)
Rene Reyes and John Gallo (Pinch Kitchen)
Isabel and Susana Garcia (Cacao Art Chocolates)
Matthew Kenney (Plant Food & Wine)
Julie Frans (Essensia Restaurant & Lounge)
Muriel Olivares and Tiffany Noe (Little River Cooperative)
Freddy and Danielle Kaufman (Proper Sausage)
Gabe Bernal (Seasons Farm Fresh)
Aaron Dreilinger (Chef David’s Catering)
Chuck Lyons (Verde Community Gardens)
Paul Massard and Chris Nolte (Per’La Specialty Roasters)
Chris French (French Farms)
Carlos Cararas (MIA Beer Company)
Kevin Rusk- Titanic Brewery
Johnathan Wakefield (J Wakefield Brewing)
Ben Conniff (Lukes Lobster)
Cristina Ivory (Angry Booch)
Nick Paton (Kelvin Slushies)
The coveted “People’s Choice” Award, judged and selected by popular vote was awarded to Chef Blair Wilson from Social Club at The Surfcomber Hotel for his amazing sweet and savory pecan-smoked St. Louis ribs with sesame-sorghum barbecue sauce, toasted sesame seeds, and pickled local veggies, while the “Chef’s Choice” Award for the “Best Bite of the Night”, judged by Slow Food Miami’s Chef Host Committee, went to Restaurateur Corey Bousquet and Chef Chris Huff of The Brick for the ultimate comfort food of shrimp ‘n’ grits made with Key West pink shrimp and War Eager Mill grits.. This year the event also featured a live auction including a weekend at Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort and including dinner for two at Malibu Farm, among other surprises. Guests had the opportunity to purchase school garden grants at the event.
Find the “Snail of Approval” list on the Slow Food Miami website, as well as on the upcoming mobile app. The Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort is located at 4525 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33140. Discounted valet tickets were available for $20.
Follow #SnailMIA and #SFMFreshestNightOut on Twitter and Facebook for additional 2016-2017 participating honorees and the latest updates.
About Slow Food Miami
Slow Food Miami is a local 100% volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to “planting a fresher future for our children.” It’s the local chapter of Slow Food USA, a national non-profit dedicated to supporting good, clean and fair food for all that supports our local communities from the ground up – from the Edible School & Community Gardens that encourage the enjoyment of local, seasonal and sustainably grown food, to the local growers and artisan food makers who use sustainable methods. Slow Food Miami supports its Edible School & Community Garden Program through culinary educational events and fundraising, and aims to raise awareness for good, clean and fair food as a cornerstone of pleasure, culture and community. For more information, visitwww.slowfoodmiami.org.
About Malibu Farm
“Fresh, organic, local” is the motto at Malibu Farm, the soon to open Miami Beach outpost located at the Eden Roc of the hugely popular California farm to table restaurant and magnet for A-listers. Owner, cookbook author and farmer Helene Henderson will bring her signature style of local, sustainable, fresh-off-the-farm fare along with an extensive wine and cocktail menu. With spectacular ocean views, Malibu Farm is set to premier Spring 2017.
About Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort
With an oceanfront location in the heart of Miami’s Mid-Beach and just minutes from Lincoln Road, Ocean Drive and the Wynwood arts district, Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort offers travelers a beachfront retreat synonymous with contemporary Miami luxury. Following a multi-million-dollar renovation that revitalized and re-launched the Eden Roc, this property boasts 418 spacious guest rooms and suites, three stunning pools, 22,000 square feet of spa and fitness facility, the world’s largest Nobu Restaurant & Bar, and will soon be home to the farm-to-fork restaurant, Malibu Farm in Spring 2017. Inspired by the beauty and splendor of the ocean below, Eden Roc rooms and suites offer savvy travelers unique in-room dining offerings and spectacular ocean views, while light and airy furnishings set the perfect seaside scene. For more information and reservations, please call (305) 531-0000 or visit www.edenrocmiami.com.
I am here to dispel the myth that hotel restaurants are sub par to stand alone restaurants or really just somewhere tourists go to out of sheer convenience. Many of these restaurants fly under the local foodie radar, and I will be the first to admit, that that was the case with me. But thanks to a recent invite to sample the new menu at Bistro Ten Zero One, under the direction of Executive Chef Christian Quiñones, I have a new respect for hotel restaurants…especially this one. Before our tasting journey began, we had the opportunity to walk the grounds with the Director of Food & Beverage, Jimmy Alexiou. The outdoor space was very zen-like and they were in the process of expanding their garden. The herbs grown there are used to accent their cocktails and dishes.
Our first course was a tasting of the Bistro’s most popular appetizers served with a glass of La Marca Prosecco:
PULLED PORK TACOS / pineapple-papaya compote, spicy mayo
In addition, here’s some more information on what’s happening at Bistro:
Oktoberfest at Bistro Ten Zero One Bistro will host an Oktoberfest party in its back outside area on Wednesday, Oct. 19 from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy a Bavarian-themed menu, along with Oktoberfest-themed beers from six local breweries. Cost is $35 per person, if purchased in advance, or $40 per person, if purchased at the door. Tax and gratuity are additional. Visit bistro1001.com to see the full menu and to RSVP.
Live Music Fridays Bistro Ten Zero One will now offer live music in the bar and lounge area every Friday evening from 5-7 p.m.Raid the CellarDine at Bistro Ten Zero One on Friday evenings from 5-10 p.m. and enjoy 50% off select bottles of wine.
Daily Happy Hour Get happy every day of the week at Bistro Ten Zero One with the restaurant’s new happy hour. Available seven days a week from 4-7 p.m., guests will enjoy $7 appetizer specials and drink specials ranging from $3 to $6.
Bistro 10.0.1 Xpress Lunch Refuel midday with Bistro 10.0.1’s Xpress Lunch and get in and out in less than an hour. Guests will select an item from Bistro’s special lunch menu – all of which are priced at $12 and include a choice of soup, salad or house fries. This Xpress Lunch menu is available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Highlights include the Bistro Burger made with Manchego cheese, caramelized onion and truffle aioli; a Garden Fresh Panini with grilled vegetables, goat cheese and sun-dried pesto; a Fish BLT (fresh off the hook) with avocado, bacon, lettuce and tomato on sourdough bread; and more. See the menu.
Fresh, local ingredients creatively prepared and presented. I will definitely be back and I hope you have become inspired to check them out as well.
Until we eat again… I send you delicious wishes, xo
Savor Our City Culinary Tours began offering our first tours on May 3, 2014 in Delray Beach, FL. Since then, we have run a series of tours in other South Florida cities such as Palm Beach Gardens, Wilton Manors and Boca Raton. Our tours have always been open to the public as well as to private groups. We entered into an agreement this past year to create brand new food tours up in New England for several major cruise lines sailing into Boston, Portland & Bar Harbor this Fall. I am proud to say that these tours have been created and are starting this month. At this time, the only way you can take any of these tours is if you happen to be sailing on one of those ships calling into those ports OR you book a private group tour through us. (Think: corporate team building, client appreciation, birthday parties)
Here is a sample of what you would experience on our Boston Markets & Cultural Walking Tour:
This 3-hour historical guided walking food tour will take guests through the famed Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, a historic meeting place and market lined with cobblestone streets packed with ethnic foods, unique gifts and street performers, just to name a few of the elements that make this marketplace located near the waterfront so unique. It was here in 1764 that the colonists protested the Sugar Act, which led to the “no taxation without representation” doctrine. George Washington toasted America’s first birthday here, and so many impassioned orators have followed that Faneuil Hall is nicknamed “The Cradle of Liberty.”
Following your visit to Quincy Market & Faneuil Hall, you will walk to nearby Boston Public Market, another indoor haven for foodies that opened its doors in the summer of 2015. The market houses 39 year-round vendor stalls which must sell food and other products that are produced or originate in New England, specializing in items sourced from local farms and fishermen. Your guide will share historical facts, interesting anecdotes, and some local insider’s tips as you sample dishes and delicacies that reflect the area. Some of the iconic New England delicacies sampled along the way include an award-winning clam chowder, lobster roll, cheese, chocolate, nuts, honey, fresh fruit vinegars, wine, mead (honey wine, the oldest alcoholic drink known to man). Then, it’s on to the Parker House, your final stop and birthplace of the city’s iconic Boston Cream Pie, which you will have the opportunity to sample.
This tour is currently available for private tours only. If you would like to inquire about booking a private tour for your group of 10+ people, please contact us at info@SavorOurCity.com or (954) 410-3177.
I was recently invited to attend the Aqua Pool Party, hosted by Utopian Events at the Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel.
The Pool Party I attended was on Saturday, Aug. 27th and was open to the public from 12 – 5pm. (More dates will soon be announced).
The Aqua Pool Party at the hotel, hosted by Utopian Events, offers guests poolside brunch with selections like Filet Mignon Sliders, Crab stuffed Eggs Benedict and Cali-style Mahi Soft Tacos from 12:00-2:00 pm followed by Barbeque Madness from 2:00-5:00 pm with hamburgers and hot dogs. With Bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s for $25 and pitchers of Sangria for $18, there are frozen specialty drinks and top shelf beverage specials available all day.
Local DJs Alex Gregory and Ben Nigrelli entertained while my friend and I indulged in the wonderful brunch al fresco and later joined in on the poolside games; we even signed up to play in the beer pong tournament (which we unfortunately did not win, but had a lot of fun trying) We did purchase tickets for a chance to win fabulous prizes, including free drinks, food and hotel stays at destinations such as Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando and Chicago as well as a cash prize. A grand prize giveaway includes a two-night stay in Key West in a Presidential Suite with VIP Amenities. Guests gain a complimentary raffle ticket for every $10 spent at the Aqua Pool Party.
Aqua Pool Party at Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel
2000 NW 19th St. Boca Raton, FL 33431
All ages are welcome to join; must be 21 to consume alcohol
For more information on the Aqua Pool Party at Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel, please visit the website, twitter and Facebook.
After being a sponsor of this event for a couple years now, I finally made it there in person this year. I can’t even begin to describe how super generous the organizers of this event are to their sponsors. Not only were we invited to several events leading up to the Grill-Off but following too. We also received a gorgeous box customized with our company’s logo placed on some cookies, some commemorative glasses and a lovely bottle of Cab personally signed by John Offerdahl himself. First class all the way.
The Gridiron Grill-Off in case you are not familiar with it is a Food, Wine & Tailgate Festival & Culinary Showdown that pairs up celebrity athletes (former Miami Dolphin legends) with some of the best local chefs to compete for the judges choice and the people’s votes for best recipe. Festival participants are encouraged to download the Gridiron Grill-Off app to vote for their favorite. Grill-Off proceeds benefit kids who are parentless (4Kids of South Florida) and homeless (HOPE South Florida) as well as these additional benefactors: Here’s Help, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Educational Programs, Miami Dolphins Foundation and the “Taste of the NFL” Feeding South Florida.
Kicking off the sixth annual “John Offerdahl’s Broward Health® Gridiron Grill-Off Food & Wine Festival with a special early access from 12pm – 1pm, VIP ticket holders and media had a chance to do a Meet & Greet with this year’s national celebrity guest Adam Richman, author, actor and television personality.
Adam Richman grew up in New York and began his love affair with food early on, sampling all of the diverse culinary specialties the Big Apple has to offer. After years of travel and invaluable on-the-job experience in the various restaurants, Adam began hosting “Man v Food” for Travel Channel, which quickly became their highest rated show. Richman has returned to television to host Travel Channel’s “Man Finds Food” and NBC’s food competition show “Food Fighters.” Adam’s first book, “America the Edible” (Rodale Publishing), hit stands in 2010 and his second book, “Straight-Up Tasty” (Clarkson Potter), came out in June 2015.
Gridiron Grill-Off VIP ticket-holders received signed copies of “Straight-Up Tasty”. In addition, Adam cooked a recipe from his new book with John Offerdahl at 4 p.m. in the Toyota Cornhole Stadium and Festival Stage.
The event was held on the grounds of the Pompano Beach Amphitheater and despite the rain ascending upon the crowd pretty much most of the afternoon, it didn’t appear to dampen the spirits of those in attendance. I would not consider myself a sports fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have a father and a brother who are fanatical. So as I made my rounds from station to station, I made a point to take a picture with as many of the football pros as possible to share with them. They were all so nice and of course so tall compared to me, lol!
Chef Chris Miracolo from S3 Restaurant at Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort was back again this year to defend his title of 2014 Judge’s Choice Winner. Chef Victor Franco from Oceans 234 was back as well to defend his title of 2014 People’s Choice Winner. Did either of them nab this year’s coveted titles? You’ll just have to wait and see. Here were this year’s teams and what they created:
Bob Baumhover (’77-’86)
Chef Steve Zucker
Alabama Gulf Shrimp
Marco Coleman (’92-’95)
Chef Andres Avayu
Feta Stuffed Lamb Burger
Jeff Cross (’88-’96)
Chef Nicole Rhone
The G-Bar, Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina
Donut Bourbon Bacon Burger
Channing Crowder (’09-’11)
Chef Chris Miracolo
S3 Restaurant at Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort
Grilled Lobster & Pork Belly
Troy Drayton (’96-’99)
Chef Zhongbo Zhang
AJ Duhe (’77-’84)
Chef Jeff Pfeiffer
Lobster Bar Sea Grille
Mark Duper (’82-’92)
Chef Victor Franco
Thai Chicken Wrap
Jay Fiedler (’00-’04)
Chef Michael Saperstein
BBQ Lamb Spare Ribs
Roy Foster (’82-’90)
Chef Oliver Saucy
Darrel & Oliver’s Cafe Maxx
Grilled Wagyu Steak Tacos
Mark Higgs (’90-’94)
Chef Ralph Pagano
Key West Shrimp Tacos
Jim “Crash” Jensen (’81-’92)
QB / WR / RB #11
Chef Rick Schwager
Crusted Beef Tenderloin
Larry Little (’69-’80)
Chef Ulises Mar
15th Street Fisheries
Shrimp Ceviche Tostadas
Sam Madison (’97-’05)
Chef Heather Waid
Beauty and the Feast, The Atlantic Hotel & Spa
Dr. Pepper Pork Sliders
Don McNeal (’80-’89)
Chef Kenny Velsor
The Grill, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale
Eugene “Mercury” Morris (’69-’75)
Chef Gary Klinefelter
Diplomat Prime, Diplomat Resort & Spa Hollywood
Mojo Pulled Pork
Tony Nathan (’79-’87)
Chef Dustin Gordon
Chef’s Palette Café and Grill, The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale
McCoy’s Oceanfront, Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa
Wagyu Beef Tostones
Shawn Wooden (’96-’99)
Chef Anthony Fiorini
13 American Table
While there were so many wonderful dishes being turned out, there were a few stand out dishes in my opinion. I really enjoyed the taste and presentation of the Grilled Octopus from Team Wooden/Chef Anthony Fiorini 13 American Table. I also enjoyed the pork belly dish created by Team Crowder/Chef Chris Miracolo S3 Restaurant. And last but not least, I thoroughly enjoyed the Thai Chicken Wrap created by Team Duper/Chef Victor Franco Oceans 234.
This year’s esteemed judges were Chefs Michelle Bernstein, Allen Susser & Mark Militello along with Burger Beast’s Sef Gonzalez and Jack Kane, the culinary academic department director at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. So….who does the 2015 judge’s choice trophy go to???? Chef Greg McGowan from Pelican Landing and #23 Troy Stradford earned it with their Grilled Spanish Octopus. And the People’s Choice???? Chef Ralph Pagano from Naked Taco and #21 Mark Higgs nailed it with their Key West Shrimp Tacos. Congrats to them and to all the participating contenders for an awesome day; one that will undoubtedly enrich the lives of many children in need. Here are some of my highlights from the day. Enjoy.
Back in December, my friend Shaina and I reviewed DaVinci’s shortly after they opened. (Click here to read that review.) Well, today I am pleased to share with you my latest review after being invited back to try some brand new items to commemorate their newly revamped menu executed by new Executive Chef, Ardany Rivas. Chef Rivas may be DaVinci’s new Executive Chef, but he is no stranger to the Carvelli Family. He has been working in the family owned restaurants since he joined them in 2005 working in Naples, FL and Wisconsin Dells, WI before coming to Boca to head up the kitchen.
“Ardany has worked with our family for more than ten years now, providing insight and inspiration for this location, as well as our other venues, so it made sense to move him into this role,” said Luigi Carvelli, who launched the restaurant with his family in September 2014. “Ardany shares the Carvelli family’s passion for delivering authentic Italian dishes that are prepared with the best, freshest, ingredients possible. We are thrilled to have him managing the DaVinci’s of Boca kitchen full-time.”
Shortly after we sat down, GM Francesco came to our table and asked us about our wine preferences. Luckily we were able to agree on a bottle of Rosso di Montalcino, a wonderful baby Barolo.
First thing to arrive on our table was their yummy warm bread basket and trio of dipping sauces that I fell in love with the first time around. (The Mascarpone with lemon zest & thyme is my personal favorite). Thank goodness this is one thing that they did not change when they created a new menu, I am pleased to announce.
Francesco informed us that Chef would be preparing a special tasting menu for us highlighting some of the new menu additions. Shaina and I especially love when Chefs do this for us. When Shaina and I dine together, we are kind of like a “Surf and Turf” duo; Shaina only eats seafood and I prefer meat, lol. Fortunately, we both really enjoy vegetarian type dishes. Speaking of which, our first course was a Vegetable Terrine appetizer which consisted of layers of eggplant, roasted red peppers, zucchini, portobello mushroom, goat cheese, arugula and topped with a balsamic glaze drizzle. I really liked this dish. It was a cold dish which didn’t surprise me as much as it seemed to have surprised Shaina. But I do agree with her assessment that it could have just as easily been served and enjoyed warm as well. To read Shaina’s review, click here.
The next dish to arrive was the charred octopus. For those of you who follow my posts, you know that Shaina and I are both huge fans of octopus. Last year when we were first introduced to DaVinci’s we tried their Polipo Grigliato al Salmoriglio, aka Octopus. It was a chilled version and although it was quite tasty, both Shaina and I agreed hands down that this new version was much more to our liking. It was served atop arugula with a lemon dressing, potato confit, drizzled with a pepperoncini aioli and served with a side of the most fantastic squid ink/white bean puree.
The Kale & Beet Salad was next. This colorful salad was visually very appealing and consisted of golden and red beets, pecans, pistachio-crusted goat cheese, kale tossed with a basil citrette dressing, topped with pickled onions and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. The salad was well composed and we both enjoyed it very much.
The next dish that came out was the homemade spinach gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce garnished with strawberries. At first I was like, strawberries? But after trying it, I can definitely see that the sweetness from the fresh berries cuts some of the richness of the Gorgonzola and it works… very well, in fact. This was definitely one of my favorites of the night and I’d have to say that these gnocchi were my absolute favorite that I have ever been served (sorry mom).
When it came time to ordering our entrees, I selected the Veal Porcini, one of the new menu items, while Shaina ordered the seafood special of the night, Shrimp-stuffed Branzino. Both dishes were accompanied by scalloped potatoes in a lemon sauce, asparagus and baby carrots. The veal was cooked with a porcini Marsala wine and cream sauce. I enjoyed this dish, although it was just a tad over salted for my preference. Shaina loved her Branzino, which was presented in quite a unique manner in that it was filleted and stuffed rather than served whole. Pretty, isn’t it?!?
We skipped on dessert this time, since A) we were pretty stuffed and B) there weren’t any new desserts on the revamped menu. We had tried the Salted Caramel Tiramisu and the Lemon Meringue Mascarpone the last time and they were both delicious. Anything that has the words “Salted Caramel” is a must have in my book. So I encourage you all to make your way over to DaVinci’s and try some of these delicious items I’ve described for you here or anything else that catches your eye on the menu. I promise you one thing, you won’t be disappointed. Exceptional food, service and ambiance.
DaVinci’s offers Happy Hour 7 days a week from 11am – 6pm at the bar and patio only, as well as a late night Happy Hour from 9pm – close. They also have live entertainment and an indoor private dining room which can accommodate groups up to 40 guests and an outside patio/lounge area which can accommodate much larger groups. They are located at 6000 Glades Rd. (next to Nordstrom at the Town Center Mall). 561-362-8466. For more info, visit their website.