New restaurant news: The Regional Kitchen rolls out new weekend brunch

West Palm Beach mimosa-seekers, there’s a hot new brunch in town. The Regional Kitchen quietly expanded its weekend hours recently to include an a la carte, big-city brunch.

On the brunch menu at The Regional: cornmeal flapjacks with bourbon-blueberry jam and salted butter. (Contributed by The Regional Kitchen)
On the brunch menu at The Regional: cornmeal flapjacks with bourbon-blueberry jam and salted butter. (Contributed by The Regional Kitchen)

Unlike some unruly, dancing-on-tables brunches, this is a civilized, soulful affair. Chef Lindsay Autry has created a menu that’s just large enough and eclectic enough to satisfy most midmorning appetites.

Related: 50 must-try ‘Sunday Funday’ brunch parties in Palm Beach County

On the savory side, there’s loaded mill grits with cheddar, scallions, bacon and roasted jalapeños ($11; add poached egg for $2, barbecue shrimp for $7), country-style sausage ($11), steak and eggs ($18), fried chicken thighs ($9), and broccoli and cheese frittata ($14).

Steak and eggs, Regional-style. (Contributed by The Regional Kitchen)
Steak and eggs, Regional-style. (Contributed by The Regional Kitchen)

On the sweet side, there’s cornmeal flapjacks with bourbon-blueberry jam ($12), and buttermilk waffle with spiced apple butter ($12). Rounding out your options, there are smaller bites (roasted tomato pie, $11), salads, sandwiches, entrées (herb roasted Scottish salmon, $22), and homey side dishes (table-side pimento cheese, $11).

Fan favorite: The Regional's roasted tomato pie. (South Moon Photography)
Fan favorite: The Regional’s roasted tomato pie. (South Moon Photography)

Brunch-y drinks include classic mimosas, daily special mimosas ($11 glass, $30 pitcher), Frosé (a spiked, slushy rosé cocktail, $12 each) and The Regional Bloody (a well-garnished Bloody Mary, $11 each).

Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Reservations are suggested at 561-557-6460.

The Regional Kitchen & Public House: 651 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

ON THE HORIZON: New lunch coming in 2017

Stacked: Table 26's signature burger. (Contributed by Table 26)
Stacked: Table 26’s signature burger. (Contributed by Table 26)

Long a popular spot for dinner, the restaurant will open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. To reserve a spot, call 561-855-2660.

Owners Eddie Schmidt and Ozzie Medeiros are still finalizing menu details.

Their announcement promises to boost local “power lunch” options. Table 26’s (also upscale) neighbor, Grato, started lunch service this past summer.

Crispy French toast at Table 26. (Contributed by Table 26)
Crispy French toast at Table 26. (Contributed by Table 26)

Table 26 presently serves a Sunday brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. On the menu: comfort food classics with a sophisticated twist, and $5 brunch cocktails.

Table 26: 1700 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach

RELATED:

Best Guide: Hot restaurants on West Palm’s Dixie Dining Corridor

Fifty must-try brunches in Palm Beach County

BEST GUIDE: What’s hot on West Palm’s Dixie Dining Corridor?

Move over, Clematis Street. The hottest new thoroughfare near downtown West Palm Beach is South Dixie Highway, from Flamingo Park to just past Antique Row.

This is where a string of chef-driven, indie restaurants have opened in the past three years, adding eclectic notes to the street. They join a few of the city’s iconic restaurants in what is now dubbed the Dixie Dining Corridor.

Here’s a north-to-south guide of The Corridor:

Table 26 is named after the latitude of Palm Beach. (Contributed by Table 26)
Table 26 is named after the latitude of Palm Beach. (Contributed by Table 26)

TABLE 26

1700 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-855-2660

If you wonder why this sophisticated spot has drawn so many regulars to its doors, the answer is simple: They serve simple, delicious food, and they treat you like family.

The power duo behind Table 26, Eddie Schmidt and Ozzie Medeiros, were pioneers of sorts on The Corridor. They opened the nautically themed place in the summer of 2012 and the valet attendants have been busy ever since.

Best reason to go: The place is lovely. It makes any night feel like a special night on the town.

Coming next year:

Patina – The husband-wife duo behind Kitchen plan an upscale spot serving Greek and Israeli dishes. Expected to open in fall 2017 at 1817 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach

Paccheri with herb ricotta, Parmesan and "Sunday gravy" with braised pork shoulder, short rib and Italian sausage. (LibbyVision.com)
Grato’s paccheri with ‘Sunday Gravy’ and herb ricotta. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)

GRATO

1901 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-404-1334

This local trattoria has earned a following by offering outstanding brick-oven pizza, house-smoked meats and homemade pasta in an accessible setting with just the right amount of vibe. Success is not an alien concept to the powerhouse team behind Grato: Chef Clay Conley and his Buccan Palm Beach partners. In August, Conley brought in a new executive chef, a rising star named Jimmy Strine, former executive sous chef at Café Boulud Palm Beach. Strine has notched up Grato’s smoked-meat game and introduced some exquisite seasonal dishes that showcase his balance of refined and rustic.

Best reason to go: There’s handmade pasta for lunch; a late afternoon drink at the bar can easily segue to dinner; Sunday brunch is sublime.

Lodge-y vibe: Jereve at EmKo. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
Lodge-y vibe: Jereve at EmKo. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

JEREVE at EmKo

2119 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-227-3511

There’s a restaurant in this hulking structure that presents itself as an artist hub. Restaurant is not the word used here – they call it “culinary studio.” They do serve lunch, dinner and cocktails.

Best reason to go: There’s half-priced wine (by the glass) during social hour, which goes from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Chef Matthew Byrne's fave: Kitchen's chicken schnitzel. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)
Chef Matthew Byrne’s fave: Kitchen’s chicken schnitzel. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)

KITCHEN

319 Belvedere Rd. (at S. Dixie Hwy), West Palm Beach; 561-249-2281

Chef Matthew Byrne once served as personal chef to golf superstar Tiger Woods. At Kitchen, the restaurant he opened with wife Aliza Byrne in the fall of 2013, he serves as personal chef to a loyal crowd that includes many a visiting celeb. This is how the couple like to describe their intimate and gradually expanding restaurant: It’s like a dinner party.

Best reason to go: Chef Matthew’s simply prepared yet sumptuous dishes.

Not so new, but noteworthy:

  • City Diner – A retro diner that’s always hopping, at 3400 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-659-6776
Mexican street corn at Cholo Soy. (Photo: Alex Celis)
Mexican street corn is on the menu at the new Cholo Soy. (Photo: Alex Celis)

CHOLO SOY COCINA

3715 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-619-7018

Chef Clay Carnes ventured east from a spacious Wellington restaurant to open a tiny, neo-Andean spot. He makes his own tortillas and fresh ceviche, and roasts and smokes his own meats. There’s not much seating, but there is a sweet patio out back.

Best reason to go: Those tortillas, they’re made of organic corn grown in Alachua County.

Not so new, but noteworthy:

  • Belle & Maxwell’s – Quaint café that’s popular at lunch, at 3700 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-832-4449
  • Rhythm Café – Neighborhood favorite, serves eclectic mix of bites and main plates, at 3800 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-833-3406
  • Dixie Grill & Bar – Offers large selection of excellent craft beers and pub fare, at 5101 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-586-3189
  • Howley’s – A diner that burns the wee-hour oil (so to speak), serving comfort grub, at 4700 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-833-5691
Buffet at El Unico: Consider it a Latin 'meat + 3.' (Liz Balmaseda/ The Palm Beach Post)
El Unico’s Buffet: It’s a Latin ‘meat + 3.’ (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)

EL UNICO

6108 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-619-2962

She’s Cuban-American; he’s Dominican. Together, husband-wife duo Monica and Enmanuel Nolasco have created a cozy spot for authentic island cooking and weekend get-downs.

Best reason to go: The lunch buffet is unbeatable. Friday night music and dancing kicks off the weekend with hot rhythms. 

Not so new, but noteworthy:

  • Marcello’s La Sirena – World-class Italian cuisine, a wine lover’s destination restaurant and multiple winner of Wine Spectator’s coveted Grand Award, at 6316 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-585-3128
  • Havana – This authentic Cuban restaurant just got an exterior makeover, at 6801 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-547-9799
  • Don Ramon Restaurante Cubano – Cuban classics served with a smile, at 7101 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-547-8704
Chef Michael Hackman kneads sourdough for bread. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)
Chef Michael Hackman kneads sourdough for bread. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)

AIOLI

7434 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-366-7741

This daylight spot is no ordinary sandwich shop. Chef Michael Hackman and his wife/partner Melanie approach their menu with fresh, seasonal ingredients and a lot of soul. “We love to make stuff from scratch here,” says Chef Michael, who bakes the shop’s breads daily. He uses the fresh loaves – sourdough, seven grain, semolina, and more – in Aioli’s sandwiches. The shop also sells the loaves retail.

Best reason to go: After your scrumptious lunch, you can take one of Chef Michael’s prepared dinners to go. Multitasking!

Openings: Hey, Boca, there’s a new cheesecake in town

Buckle up, Boca. There’s a new cheesecake in town – and we’re not talking about Junior’s.

Amazing as it is, Junior’s fluffy, cake-crust, New York cheesecake will meet its match Tuesday, Dec. 6. That’s when Rappy’s Deli opens at Boca Raton’s new Park Place plaza.

Rappy's vintage New York cheesecake has Swedish roots. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)
Rappy’s New York cheesecake has Swedish roots. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)

We had a taste of the dessert at a recent preview lunch. Restaurateur Burt Rapoport, who created the Rappy’s concept as a tribute to his late grandfather’s New York Jewish deli, offered the cheesecake without much commentary at the end of a multi-dish lunch.

The cheesecake recipe was brought to Rapoport’s, his grandfather’s lower east Manhattan deli, by a Swedish pastry chef. It was the first cheesecake served in New York, says Rapoport, who grew up in an apartment above that long-closed deli.

The cheesecake: a fluffy, cream-cheese intense filling atop a thin cake crust. It’s divine stuff.

Rapoport is not making a big deal of it. “When something’s good, people will find it,” he says.

Brined, smoked + steamed: Rappy's pastrami. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)
Brined, smoked + steamed: Rappy’s pastrami. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)

The rest of the menu is just as rooted in the New York deli concept, but presented with a modern spin.  A Reuben is turned into a spring roll for Rappy’s Pastrami Spring Roll appetizer, which is stuffed with caraway-scented braised cabbage, Gruyere and Thousand Island dressing. Don’t fret, traditionalists, there’s a classic Reuben as well.

As delicious as the cheesecake: Rappy’s classic pastrami, to be made in-house. The meat is brined, smoked over a mix of hardwood, then steamed. The result is layer upon layer of flavor, a stack of pastrami that needs only a couple slices of rye bread and a smear of coarse-grain mustard. There are healthy offerings: chicken soup, health slaw, veggies.

Even the health slaw at Rappy's is sinful. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)
Even the health slaw at Rappy’s is sinful. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)

The menu is extensive, with offerings for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner: caviar, shareable “noshes,” soups, entrée salads, large plates, blintzes and latkes, a mountain of hot/cold sandwich options,  dogs and wursts (hello, pastrami-wrapped dog!), burgers and melts, Reubens and Rachels, “Bubby’s chicken in a pot,” shakes and desserts, plus a full bar.

Well dressed dog: Rappy's pastrami-wrapped frank. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)
Well dressed dog: Rappy’s pastrami-wrapped frank. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)

Rappy’s will first open for lunch and dinner next Tuesday. Brunch begins on Saturday, Dec. 10. Breakfast will be served starting Monday, Dec. 12.

Rappy’s: Opens Tuesday, Dec. 6 at Park Place plaza, 5560 N. Military Tr., Boca Raton; RappysDeli.com

 

 

 

Goodbye Grub: Jordan’s Steak Bistro says goodbye in Wellington

Jordan’s Steak Bistro, Wellington’s only independently owned upscale steakhouse, closed Sunday, management announced.

The Cowboy: 18 ounces of broiled beef, at Jordan's Steak Bistro. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)
The Cowboy: 18 ounces of broiled beef, at Jordan’s Steak Bistro. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)

The family-owned restaurant, which opened in March 2013 in a plaza near the Mall at Wellington Green, specialized in hearty steaks cooked in an 1800-degree broiler. The big daddy on the menu: Jordan’s bone-in cowboy steak ($59), weighing from 18 ounces to 2 pounds. A heap of matchstick French fries completed the feast.

Jordan's truffled Parmesan frites. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)
Jordan’s truffled Parmesan frites. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)

Jordan’s owners, Jordan and Ivette Naftal, announced the closing in a special email to regular customers:

“Big news. We would like to thank our loyal guests for a wonderful four years!” said the email. “Stay tuned for a future announcement letting you know where we land.”

That “next adventure” could come “very soon,” the owners suggested on the restaurant’s Facebook page last weekend.

Jordan Naftal, a former Baltimore-area restaurateur, opened the steakhouse in the space Pangea had operated.

Jordan Naftal, his wife Ivette, and son Jake. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)
The Naftals: Jordan (at right), his wife Ivette, and their son Jake. (Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)

On Sunday, the Naftals’ son, Jake Naftal, posted a message of his own on Facebook:

“I have adored being a part of this place, a part of your lives, and a participant in all the splendorous evenings we provided here. I’ve made many friends out of you, and learned so much… We love making food, we love making you smile, and you make us smile, too. See you at the next cookout.”

New restaurant opening in CityPlace: Bowery restaurant and music venue

CityPlace will welcome its fourth new restaurant this year when Bowery Palm Beach makes its debut in the former BB King’s/ Lafayette’s space next week.

Bowery, which combines an upmarket seafood restaurant and live music club, opens Thursday, Dec. 8.

A live music venue is part of the Bowery concept, which replaces the short-lived Lafayette's Music Room. (Palm Beach Post file)
A live music venue is part of the Bowery concept, which replaces the short-lived Lafayette’s Music Room. (Palm Beach Post file)

The menu describes dishes with some refinement: snapper panzanella (bread salad) with fried capers and tomato confit, black cod served with olive oil poached potatoes and watercress pesto, octopus with Meyer lemon gel and smoked potatoes.

Starters include steamed bao (buns) stuffed with a variety of fillings, including fried gator tail with pickled jalapeño. The dessert menu includes a black sesame ice cream sundae with kiwi, mocha, passion fruit and caramel. Specialty cocktails include the “Bowery Red,” vodka mixed with Giffard grapefruit syrup, Aperol and fresh lime juice.

The Bowery team: in chef whites at center, Chef Theo Theocaropoulos. To his left (in white dress), is co-owner Karena Kefales. To her left is co-owner Joe Cirigliano. (Contributed by Bowery Palm Beach)
The Bowery team: in chef whites at center, Chef Theo Theocaropoulos. To his left (in white dress) is co-owner Karena Kefales. To her left, co-owner Joe Cirigliano. (Contributed by Bowery Palm Beach)

The Bowery Palm Beach concept includes two parts, the Bowery Coastal restaurant and the Bowery LIVE music venue. It is the brainchild of restaurateurs and reality TV stars Joe Cirigliano and Karena Kefales, whose search for a “dream bar” in St. John’s was featured on HGTV’s “Caribbean Life” property-hunting series last year.

The couple, who went on to appear on other cable reality shows, named the upcoming West Palm Beach restaurant after their home street in New York City.

Cirigliano and Kefales have brought on Chef Anthony “Theo” Theocaropoulos to design the menu and head the kitchen.

In the kitchen at Bowery PB: Chef Anthony "Theo" Theocaropoulos. (Contributed image)
In the kitchen at Bowery: Chef Anthony “Theo” Theocaropoulos. (Contributed)

A native New Yorker, Theocaropoulos is a graduate of the now-defunct Lincoln Culinary Institute. His career includes stints at Chef Michael White’s Ai Fiori and Mario Batali’s Eataly New York La Pizza & La Pasta.

The chef was the culinary mind behind Cooklyn, the now-closed Prospect Heights restaurant that had served as inspiration for a Palm Beach outpost. That Cooklyn Palm Beach concept, once destined for the 150 Worth shopping plaza, was scrapped.

Bowery Palm Beach will be the fifth restaurant opening at West Palm’s centerpiece dining and entertainment plaza in the past year, following the opening of The Regional Kitchen, City Tap House, Brother Jimmy’s BBQ and Cabo Flats (which opened in December 2015).

Bowery Palm Beach: 567 Hibiscus St. (CityPlace), West Palm Beach; 561-420-8600

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: Water view at ‘Che’ elevates a simple empanada

On a crisp day in Delray Beach, it doesn’t get much better than this: a waterfront view, rosé sipping and tapas noshing, and snippets of rumba adrift on the patio.

Perched on the Intracoastal: Che in Delray Beach. (Contributed by Che)
Perched on the Intracoastal: Che in Delray Beach. (Contributed by Che)

No, it wasn’t a bad way to meet Che, the 3-month-old restaurant perched on the Intracoastal in Delray Beach. The fact that it was still Happy Hour when I got there made the intro even better. That’s the magical period when the restaurant serves 5-buck delicacies such as eggplant chips, long, crispy shavings stacked in surreal patterns.

The sparkling view and delicious starter gave me the feeling that this place would be a good one. Then the server felt the need to overshare. That was moments after he dropped an F-bomb at me – in a good way, I suppose. He used it as an adverb to qualify the word “amazing,” which he used to describe the steaks.

When my dining companion arrived, I brought her up to speed.

“Our server says the steaks are ‘f#*% amazing.’ He’s also ‘f#*% hungover.’”

At Che, a view that screams "Delray Beach!" (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)
At Che, a view that screams “Delray Beach!” (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)

He was charming in the way your party friend from college is charming. But, yes, he was clueless. When I asked about the terrific, smooth and smoky red dipping sauce served alongside Che’s hearty, overstuffed empanada, he said it was a classic Argentinian chimichurri.

It was a delicious twist on the classic condiment, but for the most part, chimichurri is green, a hand-minced garlic, herb and oil sauce. The server told us chimi is always red in Argentina and green in Brazil. Charming, but mistaken.

Che's overstuffed empanada. (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)
Che’s overstuffed empanada. (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)

Condiment theories aside, this was a tasty empanada (two for $9), its crispy fried crust encasing chopped premium beef studded with chopped olives, peppers and egg. And we couldn’t get enough of that smoky red sauce. It was served with a lightly dressed tangle of arugula and sliced baby tomatoes.

This empanada shares the menu with other starters that reflect Che’s South American and Iberian roots. The concept was dreamed up in Buenos Aires and brought to being in Spain by sibling restaurateurs Daniela and Martin Sujoy. Some 15 years later, they have a “Che” family of 15 related restaurants in Spain.

Eggplant chips on the patio at Che. (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)
Eggplant chips on the patio at Che. (Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)

The Spanish influence on Che (a Rio de la Plata expression which can mean “hey!” or “bro,” among other things) declares itself in a Galician style octopus appetizer ($11), a gazpacho starter ($8), a plate of cured Iberico meats and cheeses ($15) and a classic seafood paella ($48 for two).

The Argentine inspiration is told in classics such as morcilla (blood sausage, $9), provoleta (grilled provolone, $12) and a heap of grilled steaks, ranging from $29 for brochettes to $64 for a 24-ounce butterflied South American NY strip. We landed somewhere near the middle, ordering the “George V” filet steak ($43), an 8-ounce prime South American tenderloin served with caramelized onions and veggies in a red wine glaze, with a side of potato gratin.

Grass-fed South American rib-eye steak at Che. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)
Grass-fed South American rib-eye steak at Che. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)

To my eyes, 8 ounces never seemed as robust. This filet towered above the veggie sauté. It was large enough to share. It was not as buttery as one might expect from a filet cut, but the steak was tender, a true medium-rare beneath a smoky char.

In the non-beef department, the grilled Pacific King Salmon ($30) did not disappoint. It was prepared medium-rare as well, revealing a moist interior. The salmon is served with nicely grilled asparagus and a black trumpet mushroom risotto that proved better in flavor than in texture. I prefer a creamy, more loose risotto. This one had the consistency of clumpy rice pudding.

Pacific King Salmon is served with risotto. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)
Pacific King Salmon is served with risotto. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)

All this in a menu that also includes wood-fired flat breads ($12). The menu’s range makes this an ideal waterfront spot. You don’t want a steak? Have a fig-blue cheese flat bread and a glass of wine. The setting is outstanding.

The waterfront Delray Beach location, which inhabits the former Hudson at Waterway East property, is the Sujoy family’s first U.S. location. And it is a beauty, with crisp, white walls and chairs, velvety teal booths and banquettes and simple wooden deck touches. Che infused light and just the right amount of teal blue into a dim space.

Soothing tones: Che's decor seems to flow outward. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)
Soothing tones: Che’s decor seems to flow outward. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)

Now those shimmery waters outside find their reflection in the restaurant’s furnishings. The view, it seems, begins inside and flows outward. The minds behind the restaurant’s décor maximized the visual gifts of the place.

Fresh look: Che took over the old Hudson space. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)
Fresh look: Che took over the old Hudson space. (Photo: Alissa Dragun)

What a lucky thing for local lovers of Argentinian and Spanish foods: a place where the empanada comes with one of the best views in South Florida.

REVIEW

Che Restaurant

FOOD: B

SERVICE: C

ADDRESS: 900 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach

TELEPHONE: 561-562-5200

WEBSITE: Delray.CheRestaurant.com

PRICE RANGE: Moderate to expensive

NOISE LEVEL: Lively, but conversation is possible.

FULL BAR: Yes, a full liquor bar; separate bar areas.

HOURS: Open daily from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

CREDIT CARDS: Major cards accepted

RESERVATIONS: Dinner reservations are strongly suggested.

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes

WHAT THE GRADES MEAN:

A — Excellent

B — Good

C — Average

D — Poor

F — Don’t bother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Northerner’s guide to dining in Palm Beach County

You come for the sun, the sea and the right to wear shorts in January, dear Northerner. But no amount of South Florida stone crabs can fix your cravings for the foods of “home,” wherever in the frozen tundra that may be.

This one’s for you: our local picks for tastes of New York, New Jersey, New England, Maryland, Philadelphia and Montreal.

Did we leave out your go-to favorite? Let us know in the comments section!

NEW YORK/ NEW JERSEY 

Creamy, dreamy: Cheesecake is Junior's most iconic dish. (Photo: Junior's Restaurant)
Creamy, dreamy cheesecake: Junior’s iconic dish. (Photo: Junior’s Restaurant)

Junior’s Restaurant and Cheesecake

409 Plaza Real (Mizner Park), Boca Raton; 561-672-7301

This “Sixth Borough” outpost of the Brooklyn favorite serves cheesecake that dreams are made of. So, yes, you come to Junior’s Restaurant for the cheesecake. But first you gorge on a Reuben, maybe some potato pancakes and matzo ball soup. The menu is extensive.

New York state of mind at Dorrian's Red Hand. (Meghan McCarthy/ The Palm Beach Post)
New York state of mind at Dorrian’s. (Meghan McCarthy/ The Palm Beach Post)

Dorrian’s Red Hand

215 Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 561-355-1401

The family behind the Upper East Side fixture opened a West Palm Beach rendition in May, setting out to create a New York pub vibe. As an occasional special, Dorrian’s on Clematis Street even brings in Katz’s Delicatessen pastrami from the iconic New York deli.

Slice of Brooklyn at Grimaldi's Pizzeria. (Yuting Jiang/ The Palm Beach Post)
Slice of Brooklyn at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. (Yuting Jiang/ The Palm Beach Post)

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

11701 Lake Victoria Gardens Ave. (Downtown at the Gardens), Palm Beach Gardens; 561-625-4665

This Arizona-based pizza chain has Brooklyn roots serves delicious, thin-crust pies. The menu is simple here – pretty much, pizza, salads and dessert – but it hits the spot.

Coming soon: The deli of Burt Rapoport's dreams. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)
Coming soon: The deli of Burt Rapoport’s dreams. (Photo: Emiliano Brooks)

Rappy’s Deli

Coming by mid-December to Park Place plaza, 5560 N. Military Tr., Boca Raton

Granted, the place doesn’t open until December, but already it screams “New York.” Restaurateur Burt Rapoport took inspiration from his grandfather’s lower east Manhattan deli, Rapoport’s, for this long-dreamed spot. Unlike his grandfather’s place, Rappy’s is not a strictly dairy restaurant. The menu puts a modern spin on some of Rapoport’s favorite comfort dishes.

Italian combo, Manzo's style. (Samantha Ragland/ The Palm Beach Post)
Italian combo, Manzo’s style. (Samantha Ragland/ The Palm Beach Post)

Manzo’s Italian Deli

2260 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., West Palm Beach; 561-697-9411

This popular deli brings Northern soul to Italian favorites. Mike and Mia Manzo operate the 21-year-old, family-owned spot. Mike makes killer red sauce every morning. It jazzes up his homemade lasagna, the meatballs and other dishes. As for sandwiches, Manzo’s big seller is the chicken salad sub – they sell almost 200 pounds of chicken salad a week.

BOSTON/ NEW ENGLAND

Lobster roll at Boston's on the Beach. (Thomas Cordy/ The Palm Beach Post)
Lobster roll at Boston’s on the Beach. (Thomas Cordy/ The Palm Beach Post)

Boston’s on the Beach

40 S. Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach; 561-278-3364

Consider this your south county, oceanfront spot for New England clam chowder, lobster bisque, Ipswich steamers, New England clambake and Maine lobster. To wash it down, there’s a specialty cocktail named The Patriot, of course. Plus, there are more than 30 TVs to watch the big game.

Chowder Heads: where chowdah is love.
Chowder Heads: where chowdah is love.

Chowder Heads

2123 U.S. Highway 1, Jupiter; 561-203-2903

What began as a green market kiosk selling creamy clam chowder and lobster rolls evolved into a popular Jupiter restaurant. The warm lobster roll stuffed with lobster chunks that have been sautéed in butter and sherry is particularly delicious, as is the chowder. The seafood-centric menu is extensive enough to keep you coming back. Chances are, however, you’ll order your favorites again and again.

That's just the start of it at Spoto's Oyster Bar. (Palm Beach Post file)
That’s just the start of it at Spoto’s Oyster Bar. (Palm Beach Post file)

Spoto’s Oyster Bar

4560 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens; 561-776-9448

This seafood restaurant, consistently good in food and service, serves a mean New England clam chowder and a pretty terrific lobster roll.

PHILLY

Baldino's is cheese steak city. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)
It’s cheesesteak city at Baldino’s in Tequesta. (Photo: LibbyVision.com)

Baldino’s Italian Restaurant

791 N. U.S. Highway 1, Tequesta; 561-743-4224

The logline for this restaurant is “A Taste of Philly,” and that’s evident from the menu at Baldino’s, which boasts no fewer than four Philly cheesesteak sandwich varieties.

They root proudly for the Philadelphia Eagles and run game day contests (win a free pizza if you’re the first customer to guess the winner and score).

Pennsylvania Dutch-style pretzels are popular among Philly natives. (Photo: Cox Newspapers)
Pennsylvania Dutch-style pretzels are popular among Philly natives. (Photo: Cox Newspapers)

Phlorida Pretzel

168 NW 51st St. (Boca Teeca Plaza on Yamato Road), Boca Raton; 561-910-1846

This Boca Raton shop bakes a variety of doughy Philly-style pretzels, from twists to pretzel dogs to pretzel sandwiches, including a pork roll and cheese-stuffed sandwich. Phlorida Pretzel also offers a good mix of party trays that are perfect for tailgating. (And, yes, this is Eagles territory.) 

Alfresco dining is offered with an ocean view at Caffe Luna Rosa. (Palm Beach Post file)
Alfresco dining with an ocean view at Caffe Luna Rosa. (Palm Beach Post file)

Caffe Luna Rosa

34 S. Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach; 561-274-9404

At brunch/lunch, this Italian spot by the sea serves Philadelphia-style scrapple, a pan-fried loaf of pork trimmings and flour. (Hey, Jersey folks, Caffe Luna Rosa also serves Taylor Pork Roll as a brunch side.)

BALTIMORE/ MARYLAND

Jumbo lump crab cakes at Kirby's. (Palm Beach Post file)
Jumbo lump crab cakes at Kirby’s. (Palm Beach Post file)

Kirby’s

841 Donald Ross Rd. (La Mer plaza), Juno Beach; 561-627-8000

This sports grill is popular with Baltimore Ravens fans as well as with fans of proper crab cakes. Kirby’s rendition are cakes chockfull of crab, not bready filler.

A Maryland-style crab restaurant in Lantana. (Palm Beach Post file)
A Maryland-style crab restaurant in Lantana. (Palm Beach Post file)

Riggins Crabhouse

607 Ridge Rd., Lantana; 561-586-3000

This restaurant not only bills itself as a Maryland crab house, the menu delivers on that promise with Maryland crab soup, Maryland-style crabs steamed in beer, vinegar and spices and Chesapeake references.

Tapping into Baltimore at True, Boca Raton. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)
Tapping into Baltimore at True, Boca. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)

True

147 SE 1st Ave. (next to Royal Palm Place), Boca Raton

Pure Baltimore inspiration built this spot, and a love of crabs keeps it going. The cream of crab soup at True carries hints of sherry, shallots and Old Bay. The True Blue sandwich layers a Maryland-style crab cake, lettuce and tomato on a Kaiser roll. There’s a crab dip that’s topped with cheddar and the Homesick Soup with plenty of Old Bay love.

MONTREAL/ QUEBEC

Poutine, a French Canadian street dish, is a heap of fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. (Contributed)
Poutine, a French Canadian street dish, is a heap of fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. (Contributed)

Poutine Dog Café

17 S. J Street, Lake Worth; 561-766-2281

What’s so Montreal about fries, gravy and cheese curds? Everything. And this café serves it in abundance and with plenty of bling. There are at least nine ways to top your poutine here.

Poutine gets a fancy touch at Chez l'Epicier, Palm Beach. (Contributed by Chez l'Epicier)
Poutine is served in a stylish setting at Chez l’Epicier, Palm Beach. (Contributed by Chez l’Epicier)

Chez l’Epicier

288 S. County Rd., Palm Beach; 561-508-7030

Set in farmhouse-chic décor, this Palm Beach restaurant offers a most compelling reason for a Montreal fan to visit: The chef is a food star there. Chef Laurent Godbout, who runs Chez l’Epicier with his wife Veronique Deneault, renders artistic yet soulful plates. And, yes, he offers a mean poutine.

Acai Bowls: They’re the best and I don’t want you missing out

Let’s stop pretending we know how to pronounce the darn thing. If you’re saying ‘acai’ right, it sort of rhymes with ‘how about me?’

As for where you’ll find it — not in Whole Foods ‘Fresh Picks.’ Acai can’t be bought in its true form, a berry from palm trees that grow in the Amazon rain forest in Central and South America. When an acai berry is picked, it’s taken to a lab, processed, sometimes frozen, and then sent to the United States.

Why is it healthy af?

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That’s simple. Acai berries are high in fiber and antioxidants which are known to help balance cholesterol levels.

If you’re anything like me, of course you care about long-term health benefits, but what really makes you happy is knowing what foods and drinks are good for your body almost instantly. Acai does that. Its energy boost is just what you need to get going in the morning.

Acai bowls and all their glory… kind of.

The good news is that acai bowls are packed with protein. Shops and cafes add granola, seeds and butters to almost every bowl. Most are topped with berries other than acai like blueberries and strawberries which makes them “a nutrition powerhouse,” said Sandy Livingston, a registered nutrition and licensed nutritionist in Palm Beach County.

The bad news? Some acai bowls are high in sugar and sodium content.

I’ll put it like this: Sambazon, Acai Roots and Tambor are three popular brands of acai that are shipped to the U.S. and used in nutrition-conscious businesses like Jaya Nutrition in Juno Beach and Celis and The Bee in West Palm Beach. Half a cup of Acai Roots acai sorbet in a bowl has about 65 mg of sodium and 16 grams of sugar. That doesn’t include the sugars your body will consume from the added layers of almond/peanut butter or yummy honey that top a standard acai bowl.

To put this into perspective, a woman should only consume 25 grams of sugar a day, while a man should have 37.5, according to AuthorityNutrition.com.

Still interested despite the devilish side?

That’s okay. Me too. Between you and me, acai bowls make up 50 percent of my “eating out” budget! I love them all, from the healthier bowls (low in sugar content and 100% organic) served at Jaya Nutrition bar to the sugar rush I get from a bowl at Field of Greens in downtown West Palm.

Check out this guide to my 5 favorite bowls around town.

Fill up for a few hours at The Bee

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Fruity Acai Bowl at The Bee in Downtown West Palm Beach. Corvaya Jeffries / Palm Beach Post

Toppings like homemade granola (to die for) and fresh raspberries please me more than the acai does. This is because it’s blended with banana and mylk (milk substitute) so the taste of the tart berry is not as potent and melts really fast. Trust that you’ll be served a hearty amount of deliciousness, though. More than enough to fill you up until your next meal.

Location: 123 Datura St, West Palm Beach

Cost: $12 or $13

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Field of Greens

Lil Root is my go-to bowl at Field of Greens. It’s cheap and small enough to eat on the go. The nutella on top of the freezing cold acai is all the sweet I need, so I usually skip the drizzle of honey on top.

Location:  412 Clematis St, West Palm Beach

Cost: Between $5 and $10

Have a healthier bowl over conversation at Jaya Nutrition Bar

photo; jaya nutrition bar
Dakota, server at Jaya Nutrition Bar making an acai bowl. Corvaya Jeffries / Palm Beach Post

Jaya Nutrition Bar is as beautiful and welcoming as its owner, Cecile Alfonzo-Antoine, who designed the place herself.

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Cecile Alfonzo-Antoine, owner of Jaya Nutrition Bar. Corvaya / Palm Beach Post

Your acai bowl will be served in a white paper container with a handwritten, motivational phrase on it — a conversation starter for anyone. The bar’s acai has no coloring agents and is low in sodium. All of these elements make me happy.

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Location: 869, Donald Ross Rd, Juno Beach

Cost: Between $6 and $10

Up your immunity at Juice Buzz

I upgraded from the Cacao Crunch Bowl to the Green Cacao Crunch Bowl. You know, something a little more green with added superfood powder, kale or spirulina. It’s not as sweet as some of the other bowls on this list but still tasty and undeniably healthy.

Location: 6 NE 5th Ave, Delray Beach

Cost: $11

Enjoy every spoonful at Celis Produce

The freezing cold, perfectly textured organic acai is what I love about the bowls at Celis. Prepared with acai ahead of time, when you order your bowl, all they have to do is add peanut butter, hemp/flax granola, honey, bananas, strawberries and kiwi. It allows for a bit of everything in every bite.

“Customers love our bowls because of the quality of our ingredients. The fruit is always fresh, never frozen and the granola we use is airy and crunchy,” Alex Celis, Co-Owner of Celis Produce, said.

Bonus Points: Celis is just a few steps away from The Palm Beach Post building, which is a gift for my taste buds and a curse for my pockets.

Location: 2814 S Dixie Hwy d, West Palm Beach

Cost: Between $10 and $12

Get your superfruit serving Whole Foods 

photo; acai whole foods
Servings of aca in drinks sold at Whole Foods. Corvaya Jeffries / Palm Beach Post

You won’t be able to order an acai bowl at Whole Foods, but you can get your acai fix through various drinks, bars and supplements.

photo; acai capsule
Acai supplements sold at Whole Foods. Corvaya Jeffries / Palm Beach Post

Personally, I can’t imagine skipping out on a bowl for a drink that costs just as much, but hey, that’s me.

For anyone who has been skeptical about the hype hovering over acai and acai bowls, I get it. Everything in the bowl can be thrown into a blender and taste just as good as a smoothie.

But it’s satisfying to spend a little more time with colorful (and healthy) variety of textures that melt in your mouth, airy granola that has the right amount of crunch or thick and handmade almond butter that sticks to the roof of your mouth.

A bowl from any of the locations on this list are at least worth a taste test, but don’t rush through it. Challenge yourself to pay attention to your tastebuds and your mood, then tell me what you think.

Sign at The Bee in Downtown West Palm Beach. Corvaya Jeffries / Palm Beach Post

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Acai Bowls: They’re the best and I don’t want you missing out