ICYMI: Cholo Soy Cocina restaurant to open this week on West Palm Beach’s Antique Row

Cholo Soy Cocina, a tiny space with epic dreams, is set to open next week on West Palm Beach’s Antique Row, says its chef/owner Clay Carnes.

Carnes, who left his spacious Wellington restaurant, The Grille, to pursue his street-food-joint goals, expects to open Friday, Sept. 23.

He describes the concept as “neo-Andean, Ecuadorean,” inspired by his years working as a hotel chef in Cuenca, Ecuador. On the menu: interesting snacks, small dishes, handmade tortillas crafted of organic, non-GMO white corn grown in Alachua County.

“The thing I’m most excited about is that I can finally start making these tortillas,” says Carnes, who also will be smoking and braising meats and frying tempura fish for taco fillings.

Chef Clay Carnes: Michigan by birth, "cholo" by soul. (Alissa Dragun/ South Moon Photography)
Carnes: Michigan by birth, “cholo” by soul. (Alissa Dragun/ South Moon Photography)

He has designed a menu that’s varied enough to please a range of tastes and diets.

“We will have food options for everybody. We’ll be able to accommodate dietary preferences naturally because our menu is for everybody. If you’re vegan, we have you covered naturally. Whatever crazy trend you’re doing, you’ll be able to do it here,” says Carnes, who will also offer a selection of beer and wine as well as locally brewed kombucha on draft and locally roasted coffee.

Carnes, a Food Network “Cutthroat Kitchen” winner, plans to grow his own herbs, peppers and other veggies on Cholo’s patio, which will likely hold the spillover crowd from the 600-square-foot indoor space. Inside, there will be four tables seating eight to ten guests, plus limited room at the stand-up counter. Patio benches can accommodate another 25.

The cozy, communal factor is all part of Cholo’s street-stand vibe.

Cholo Soy translates to “I am cholo,” Latin American slang for mixed race or mestizo.

CHOLO SOY COCINA

Located at 3715 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; @cholosoycocina on Instagram; www.cholosoycocina.com.

Hours: Opens Sept. 23 and will keep the following hours: Open Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays.

 

Best restaurants of 2015 (so far): Palm Beach County, Treasure Coast

Jereve Culinary Studio, West Palm Beach. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
Jereve Culinary Studio, West Palm Beach. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

I am not quite done devouring 2015, but I have feasted on my share of excellent dishes. Here’s my half-time report on my favorite reviewed restaurants so far this year.

JEREVE CULINARY STUDIO

Jereve's palm hearts with kohlrabi, mango, and bread crumbs. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
Jereve’s palm hearts with kohlrabi, mango, and bread crumbs. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

They call this West Palm Beach eatery a studio for good reason: The food is a work of art. But beyond the stunning presentations on the plate, the food is delicious.

The restaurant is tucked into the multiuse EmKo art space on South Dixie Highway in the Flamingo Park neighborhood, and its positioning makes sense: beautiful, thoughtful dishes served in a setting where creativity is celebrated and encouraged.

Jereve: 2119 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-227-3511; EmKoPB.com

MEAT MARKET

Meat Market's mammoth dry-aged Prime Certified Angus, 32-ounce porterhouse steak. (Bill Ingram/ Palm Beach Post)
Meat Market’s mammoth dry-aged Prime Certified Angus, 32-ounce porterhouse steak. (Bill Ingram/ Palm Beach Post)

Welcome to the sexiest steak house in Palm Beach County, where the cuts are stellar and the service is sensational.

Chef-restaurateur Sean Brasel’s hard work has paid off, as have the countless miles he’s logged between the 10-month-old restaurant and its original Meat Market location in Miami Beach. Start with a fresh tuna tartare and a glass of chilled wine at the bar, where happy hour is a refined affair. Then settle into a seat at the dining room for an extraordinary meal. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth the splurge.

Meat Market: 191 Bradley Place, Palm Beach; 561-354-9800; MeatMarketPalmBeach.com

THE GRILLE FASHION CUISINE

Executive Chef Clay Carnes, The Grille, Wellington. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)
Executive Chef Clay Carnes, The Grille, Wellington. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)

Rising star chef Clayton Carnes has no use for bells and whistles. He relies on premium ingredients and mad skills. The secret behind The Grille’s quality and success is as simple as that.

There’s little wonder why Carnes won an episode of Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen,” and, more recently, a semifinals round in the summer-long Feast of the Sea’s Chef’s Challenge Series.

At The Grille, his menu is simple and accessible, and it’s inspired by what’s fresh, local and prime.

The Grille: 12300 South Shore Blvd., Wellington; 561-793-2110; TheGrilleFashionCuisine.com

DISTRICT TABLE & BAR

District Table's roasted grass-fed marrow bones are served with onion crust, IPA mustard, herbs and toast. (LibbyVision.com)
District Table’s roasted grass-fed marrow bones are served with onion crust, IPA mustard, herbs and toast. (LibbyVision.com)

This cozy and casual eatery, which sits in a quiet suburban plaza in Stuart, is where Chef Jason Stocks and his wife Mirka Stocks pay homage to local and regional ingredients.

The chef’s Southern roots – he’s a Palm City native – are evident throughout District Table’s eclectic menu. Whether it’s his Sweet Tea Fried Chicken and jalapeño-cheddar waffle, his deviled yard eggs or his insanely good beef tartare, the chef’s talent is revealed daily in dishes that are worth driving many miles to enjoy.

District Table: 900 SE Indian St. (heading north on U.S. 1, turn left on Indian Street), Stuart; 772-324-8357; DistrictTableAndBar.com

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