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.
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.
It’s time to get messy! Shaina from Take A Bite Out of Boca enjoyed a night full of food, wine and art with Savor Our City on the first ever tour with Vino Van Gogh.
I think I’ve been on every single tour that Savor Our City offers — more than once. Though sometimes this means visiting the same restaurants twice, most of the time I’m being introduced to new spots. Last week, Savor Our City did a mini version of it’s Delray Beach Pineapple Grove Tour, ending the night at a place I have been wanting to go for a while — Vino Van Gogh. It’s a “Paint, Wine and Art Bar” where you and a group of friends (or go alone if you’re so inclined) can participate in a group painting class and unleash your inner artist. Everyone paints the same image, and there is an instructor up at the front of the room helping you along the way. Wine and beer is also available for purchase. It’s a super fun way to spend an evening, and everyone on this special Pineapple Grove tour got to experience it!
Instead of the usual 5 or 6 restaurant stops, this tour was limited to 3 since we would be participating in a class at Vino Van Gogh. We started at SoLita, a regular on the Savor Our City tours, who served us their signature Eggplant Stack paired with a smooth and food-friendly Chianti. Mozzarella and slices of beefsteak tomato are sandwiched between two pieces of crispy eggplant, topped with peppery arugula and drizzled with an aged balsamic and shaved parmigiana. This is one of my favorite appetizers in all of Pineapple Grove. Seriously. The eggplant is so unbelievably perfect — Bubby’s eggplant might give it a run for its money, but I’ve never had it this good from any other restaurant. SoLita proudly boasts this as one of it’s most popular items on the menu. No surprise there — everyone’s plates were empty within mere seconds of those stacks being set down.
It’s about time Savor Our City came to Boca! Shaina from Take A Bite Out of Boca was very excited to see the tour in her stomping grounds.
Denise has finally brought Savor Our City Culinary Tours to Boca! I have been waiting for this ever since she started her tour business in Delray. Boca has such a vibrant restaurant scene that I knew it wouldn’t be long before the owners and chefs would want to get on board.
For those of you who may not be familiar with this incredibly tasty tour, Savor Our City was founded by my good friend Denise Righetti. She leads groups through a series of stops at restaurants and specialty shops and introduces everyone to delicious flavors, beautiful scenery, and fun historical facts about the area. Currently, the tours are held every Saturday afternoon in Delray Beach along Atlantic Ave and the third Thursday of every Month in Pineapple Grove. There are occasional evening tours, as well.
Savor Downtown Boca is the newest of the bunch and the inaugural tour took us through Royal Palm Place — just a little farther south from Mizner Park on Federal Highway. Royal Palm Place has so many restaurants, with new ones popping up almost every month. Although I’ve been to quite a few in the plaza, there are still many more I’ve yet to explore. We all got “A Taste of Royal Palm Place” and I would put money on it that each and every guest will be back for more very soon!
Our first stop of the night was at one of my absolute favorite Italian restaurants — Ristorante Sapori. Chef Marco is the sweetest man ever and always aims to please. Remember my review of the restaurant and my crazy craving for linguine and clams? He came to my rescue that night and we still laugh about it whenever we see each other. Chef served us homemade fettuccine, which he prepared right in front of us with his pasta maker, and promptly served alongside his delicious flavored butters and freshly baked bread. I’ve never had fettuccine Alfredo quite like this before — it was light and airy, not weighed down with heavy cream like most Alfredo dishes. And that fresh pasta made all the difference! Many of us would have been content sitting there all night eating plate after plate of Chef Marco’s pasta, but alas…we had more tasting to do!
Shaina from Take A Bite Out of Boca had never been to PGA Commons until Savor Our City started doing tours there. There was lots to see and do during the Savor PGA Commons Tour!
Savor Our City Culinary Tours is bringing its historical food tours up to Palm Beach Gardens so even more South Florida foodies can join in on the fun. The inaugural tour was on Wednesday, July 30th and will continue to take place on the last Wednesday of every month.
Denise is on a roll with her culinary tours! I was pumped to be able to go on the first ever tour at PGA Commons, a quaint outdoor shopping and restaurant area very similar to Mizner Park, located in Palm Beach Gardens. This is the perfect spot to host a walking tour — there are so many different kinds of restaurants to try and we even got to check out a gorgeous art gallery too! Savor PGA should be described as more of both a food AND wine tour, because we were lucky enough to receive pairings at EACH restaurant!
This tour was the biggest group Denise has had thus far, which was super exciting. Despite the stormy weather, 26 people joined together under the outside awning at Vic & Angelo’s where we all met up to get acquainted with one another before spending the next three hours together eating, drinking, learning fun facts about the area, and forming new friendships.
Once our name tags were handed out and the skies started to open, we headed inside to be seated for our first taste of the tour. I had just experienced Vic & Angelo’s in Delray Beach for the first time and loved it so I was happy to be back here to try something new. They served us our choice of a Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon (I went with red — I like to drink red wine when I eat Italian food) and of course had a plate of their signature garlic bread on the table for us to start with. That bread…so garlicky and topped with a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese, fresh out of the oven and crisped to perfection — I’m not sure I’ve ever had garlic bread quite like theirs before.
Delray Beach is so rich with culture and cuisine, it’s about time someone starting showing it off! My good friend Denise has introduced a new concept to the area, Savor The City Culinary Tours. Denise is famed around town for putting together great pairing events with her company “Denise’s Foodie Events,” so she is a natural choice for leading these tours. Her first tour “Taste Atlantic Ave” takes you up and down the avenue, where you get to sample food and drinks from four restaurants and visit two gourmet specialty shops. Aside from the food, you also get to hear stories and fun facts about Delray Beach and its history from Denise. She interviewed local families and historians to find out some really cool info to share with her tour guests.
A group of ten of us joined Denise this past weekend. Among our group was Shanna from Boca Locals who puts together the ABZs Networking Crawls, and Stevie, a former chef and fellow local food blogger at Fork Notes. Gotta love when foodies unite for fun food-centered events!
The day started off at The Office, where we were served a bit of an indulgent sampling of their menu items: their Prime CEO Burger with sweet onion and tomato confit, bleu cheese crumble, gruyere, arugula and bacon, truffle fries and a beer. Yes, this was at 11:00 in the morning. Breakfast of Champions!
Pineapple Grove is full of yummy restaurants. Shaina from Take A Bite Out of Boca had a great time trying them all on the monthly Pineapple Grove tour.
You all know how much I love going on food tours. What could be more fun than exploring a city and all that its culinary culture has to offer? You remember the Taste Atlantic Ave tour I went on last month with Savor the City Culinary Tours, right? Well, last week Savor the City Culinary Tours debuted its first Pineapple Grove Tour and of course I was there, ready to take in every last bite! The Pineapple Grove Tour focuses on the area of Downtown Delray beyond the Ave. Those “off-the-beaten-path” kinds of places that take a local’s knowledge to know about — which is why this tour is so great; it’s introducing people to restaurants they may not have known existed. On the third Thursday of every month, my fellow food-loving friend Denise Righetti leads her Pineapple Grove Tour, in conjunction with Artist’s Alley (a time when local artists open their studios and galleries to the public), to give her guests a little taste of all that the Grove has to offer.
We started out with fine Italian cuisine at Casa di Pepe — the first restaurant for Chef Pepe. He served us a delicious Chardonnay (weird that I actually liked it, because I never like Chardonnay) alongside a family-style serving of his famous Penne a la Vodka with house-made vodka sauce made fresh every single day. He makes his pasta from scratch too! I tend to find penne a la vodka a boring dish — I’ll never order it if I go out to dinner at an Italian restaurant; however, after tasting Chef Pepe’s sauce, my mind has completely changed. This is so not boring! There was so much flavor in that sauce, I couldn’t get enough! It took all of my will power not to scoop out another portion of pasta from the plate in the center of our table, but I knew I had to save room for the other stops on the tour…
Friend and fellow food blogger, Shaina Wizov has been with us every step of the way, literally, as we launched a new tour in a each city. We are excited to share her reviews with you as she covered our inaugural “Taste Atlantic Avenue”tour and “Pineapple Grove” tours in Delray and our “Savor PGA Commons” tour in Palm Beach Gardens. Enjoy…