The long-awaited Palm Beach outpost of Sant Ambroeus, the Milanese restaurant and pasticceria with locations in New York City and Southampton, will debut at dinnertime Saturday, according to a publicist for the fashionable spot. Doors open at 6 p.m.
The pretty-in-pink ristorante has slipped into the island’s newly renovated Royal Poinciana Plaza, which is home to Hillstone’s popular Palm Beach Grill. It inhabits part of the space where Del Frisco’s Grille operated from 2013 to 2015.
Beloved for its espresso bar, pastries and gelato selection, Sant Ambroeus brings wide-ranging menu options and extended hours (by Palm Beach standards) to the plaza. The restaurant will open every day from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
On the menu: classics including Vitello Tonnato, saffron risotto, Cotoletta alla Milanese, plus dishes inspired by Florida’s coastal ingredients.
“The menu will focus on seafood and will incorporate local citruses and herbs to accentuate the fresh, luminous surroundings that encompass Palm Beach,” said Executive Chef Marco Barbisotti via news release.
Desserts will include Italian pastries as well as homemade pies and cakes. The drink selection is varied as well, thanks to a full bar: regional wines, cocktails, specialty coffees and teas.
All this in a setting inspired by Italy’s vintage caffe culture. The 174-seat restaurant will serve various roles during the day: It’s a fine dining restaurant in the principal dining rooms, but at the bar it transitions into coffee-bar and cocktail mode.
With roots in 1936 Milan, Sant Ambroeus has seven locations: the original Madison Avenue restaurant, locations in SoHo, the West Village and Southampton. The SA Hospitality Group also operates Sant Ambroeus coffee bars at New York’s Loews Regency Hotel and Sotheby’s. Another coffee bar is planned for the Hanley Building in New York’s Upper East Side.
Now there’s Palm Beach. The location made sense, according to restaurateur Dimitri Pauli, a partner at SA Hospitality Group who owns a home in Palm Beach County.
“We had long considered opening out of New York, but nowhere resonated with our brand until we saw this opportunity at The Royal Poinciana Plaza,” he said via news release.
Sant Ambroeus already has something very Palm Beach-y going for it. It’s pink and gold branding. Think flamingo, with sunscreen.
It is the namesake of Aaron Fuller, a former resort and private club chef who was most recently executive chef at Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach. An Abacoa resident, Fuller aims to bring globally inspired dishes prepared with a refined touch and often a dramatic flair.
But despite the Baked Alaska dessert that’s flambéed at tableside, Aaron’s setting will be more “farmhouse chic” than opulent.
“I think this community is starving for a new experience that focuses on fresh, interesting and high-quality dishes without having to travel too far from home,” Fuller said via news release. He called the restaurant “an extension of my own kitchen and family.”
Fuller has named his Mar-a-Lago protégé, Marc Cela, as Aaron’s Chef de Cuisine. Cela hails from a restaurant-industry family – his father owned and operated the now-closed L’Anjou in Lake Worth.
On the menu at Aaron’s: bar bites ($5 and up) like avocado fries, Philippine chicken lumpia and truffle Parmesan gaufrette (wafer), starters such as port-poached pear salad, truffle-ricotta ravioli, pork belly with Thai peanut brittle and sautéed langoustines in a sweet corn nage (broth), main plates (up to $36) like roasted duck in a dark cherry gastrique (sweet-sour sauce), lamb shank braised in local IPA (by the Civil Society brewers across the street) and pan-seared bronzino with coconut rice.
Several dishes, both savory and sweet, are presented in jars as a nod to Fuller’s memories of his mother’s homemade jellies and jams.
One interesting daily special is one rarely offered to the public at other establishments: the “family meal,” or whatever the chef and his crew are eating that day.
As for the “wine bar” part of the restaurant, Aaron’s will pour a selection of interesting wines by the glass and bottle. The bar has nitrogen-contained wine dispensers to help keep those by-the-glass wines fresh. On Thursday nights, the wine bar will offer wine tastings.
Aaron’s Table & Wine Bar: 1153 Town Center Drive, Jupiter; 561-855-2628; AaronsTable.com; hours are Tuesday through Sundays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., with happy hour offered from 4 to 7 p.m. On Wednesdays and Fridays starting Nov. 11, there will be live music. Dinner reservations will be taken starting Oct. 15.
It’s an inspiration he relegated to back-burner status for decades: the familiar embrace of a Jewish deli.
Restaurateur Burt Rapoport knows that embrace better than most. His grandfather owned a deli for 50 years. His father managed it for many of those years. The lower east Manhattan establishment was home to Rapoport and his family – literally so. They ate most of their meals there, and they lived upstairs.
The vintage Rapoport’s deli was a traditional dairy restaurant, meaning it served no meat but plenty of blintzes, breads, fish dishes and potato soup. This is where a young Burt would grow up (on bowl after bowl of that hearty soup) to be a third-generation restaurateur and an influential figure in Palm Beach County’s hospitality world.
Now the restaurateur behind some top south county concepts (Deck 84, Henry’s, Burt & Max’s and Bogart’s Bar & Grille) has a deli-themed spot on deck in Boca Raton, inspired by those old Manhattan memories.
Rappy’s Deli will open in November, says Rapoport. The newest member of Rapoport’s Restaurant Group will debut in Boca’s new Park Place, a soon-to-open plaza on Military Trail, between Yamato and Clint Moore roads.
“I felt it would be great to go back to my roots,” Rapoport said in an interview this week.
Named after his late father, Ray “Rappy” Rapoport, the new restaurant is more “deli-themed restaurant than classic deli,” he says. He describes the concept as “soulful Jewish food with a modern interpretation.”
The casual spot will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and will boast a 30-foot deli takeout counter as well as a full, indoor-outdoor bar, says Rapoport, who laments that true Jewish delis are few and far between in the country.
But there’s good news to be found amid the “glorified diners with zero atmosphere,” he notes.
“Now you see this resurgence with younger people who are reinventing delis all around the country,” says Rapoport. “So maybe the time is right to do this thing.”
The menu will mesh old school Jewish food with “a lot of fun items,” he says.
Expect franks in a blanket wrapped in puff pastry that’s sprinkled with “everything bagel” seasoning, deli-style sushi in the form of nova-wrapped tuna salad, pastrami spring rolls and house-smoked pastrami dishes. Also on the menu: classic chicken in a pot, corned beef and stuffed cabbage, plus homemade mustard, malts, boozy shakes and sweets.
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.
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.
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.
Golf star Ernie Els is taking his culinary interests to Miami. The Jupiter resident known as “The Big Easy” is set to open a downtown area restaurant inspired by his South African roots and passion for wine.
The announcement came this week from the Miami-based Grove Bay Hospitality Group, which partnered with the Hall of Famer and plans a 200-seat restaurant inspired by Els’ “lifestyle and spirit.”
The upscale-casual grill restaurant will carry the flavors (and wines) of the Western Cape region of Els’ native South Africa. A South African native chef with extensive experience in American restaurants will command the kitchen, creating comfort dishes from Els’ motherland.
On Chef Maryna Frederiksen’s menu: unusual meats like sprinkbok (gazelle) loin and ostrich filet, “bobotie” spring rolls (stuffed with traditionally spiced ground beef curry), “sosatie” mini skewers and grilled boerewors (a sausage that is said to be Els’ favorite).
Yes, there will be burgers, as well as Florida seafood and fish, and universal dishes like lobster risotto.
For the pairing, there will be a variety of Ernie Els Wines, which the golfer produces with winemaker Louis Strydom. Perhaps this is what Els is most excited about.
“One of the really wonderful things about Big Easy Winebar & Grill is the opportunity it gives Louis and me to share our passion for wine and to introduce our portfolio of wines, of which we’re extremely proud, to a wider audience,” Els said via news release.
All this in a setting reminiscent of the Western Cape, with imported wood touches, clay pottery, white brick walls and leather seating.
Miami will be the first U.S. location for the Big Easy concept, which has three locations in South Africa and Dubai.
The restaurant is expected to open Nov. 3 at the upcoming Brickell City Centre in Miami’s financial district, near downtown. It will serve a weekday lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., dinner nightly from 4 to 11 p.m. and Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
City Tap House opened early last month across from City Cellar, turning CityPlace into a hub of unrelated “city” spots. But what makes the newly debuted gastro pub a good match for the downtown West Palm Beach complex is its eclectic menu options, both in food and drink.
The craft beer-centric restaurant is an East Coast concept that aims for a corner bar, good-grub feel. Part of the suburban Philly-based Table 95 Hospitality Group, it’s the first of the City Tap restaurants to open in Florida. The gastro pub breathed new life into the former Brewzzi space two years after that popular brew pub closed. The space is now appointed with barn wood and recycled steel and offers indoor and outdoor areas for dining, drinking and even sports-watching.
The beer list alone flows with local and regional craft brews arranged by styles, then listed by weight. Aside from pints and some higher-alcohol 10-ounce pours, beer is also sold by 5-ounce sampler glasses, affording the curious and thirsty a chance to try out different brews.
A 5-ounce sample of Tampa’s Cigar City Horchata ($3) allowed me to savor the vanilla-cinnamon notes of the Mexican-inspired spiced ale between appetizer bites without having to invest a full-size beer.
Those appetizers were not too easy to pick, as the menu offers a solid range of starters, from Korean short rib tacos ($13) to charred Brussels sprouts ($8) to tuna carpaccio with yuzu-ginger dressing ($17) to Israeli hummus ($8).
We settled on a plate of corn and crab hushpuppies ($13) served with a citrus remoulade and honey-thyme butter. These proved to be knockout bites, crispy, flavorful and studded with crab and corn. They were so fluffy and delicious they needed no sauce, much less any kind of butter.
A Florida grouper ceviche appetizer ($14) offered bright, tropical flavors, nicely acidic hits from citrus and pineapple, richness from coconut milk and avocado and grassy notes from cilantro. With tortilla chips for scooping, the bite was complete.
City Tap House’s pimento cheese spread ($8), however, was a miss. Topped with a layer of nondescript bacon jam, the soft spread proved bland, even when spread on a caraway cracker. It took a tart pickle slice to give the bite a lift.
Our entrée choices did not disappoint. A dish of crispy suckling pig ($24), the night’s Daily Supper” special, offered a neat wedge of pulled, confit pork topped with a spot-on layer of crispy crackling. This pork wedge crowned a sweet potato and poblano hash and a ring of spicy apple sauce. The contrast of flavors and textures elevated the dish.
The City Tap Burger ($15) was a juicy bite. The Black Angus beef patty is topped with cheddar, pickled red onions and a pinkish “secret” sauce that leaked through the bottom bun – not ideal for those who like to pick up their burgers. No worries on my part – I used a fork and knife to scrape the bun aside and cut to the chase, the juicy patty which was cooked to true medium temperature. The side fries, of the “hand-cut” variety, were crispy enough.
We found interesting, yet vaguely Asian, flavors in the Duck Rice Hot Pot ($23), a composition of crispy confit duck (slow-cooked in its own fat), sauteed with Napa cabbage, garlic and peas that’s cooked with star anise and cinnamon-scented long grain rice and aromatics. The mixture is then deglazed with mirin, rice wine vinegar, Sriracha sauce, white soy sauce and sesame oil. The presentation includes plenty of chopped herbs, green beans and an oozy poached egg. A vegetarian version of the dish, which is comforting and delicious, is offered as well. The white soy lends the dish a round hint of butterscotch for an overall addictive flavor.
These dishes share the dinner menu with a variety of mussels, pizza, and heftier meat-centric options.
Those who venture to the heftier side of the menu, be warned: There’s one dessert that’s worth saving some room for. The ricotta fritters ($8) are simply sublime. The house-made ricotta becomes more flavorful as it air-dries for 48 hours. The soft cheese is mixed with flour, baking soda, orange zest, sugar and eggs, then deep-fried. Hot and crispy outside, fluffy and decadent inside, they’re dusted with powdered sugar and served with a citrus-scented crème anglaise dipping sauce. Three words: Run, don’t walk.
These fritters completely outshone our two other dessert selections: a scoop of tangy-rich key lime gelato, and a chocolate pot de crème. Served in a coffee cup and saucer, the chocolate dessert sounded so much better when described by our server. It’s like a chocolate mousse topped with whipped vanilla crème fraiche, then crowned with a bruleed (torched) banana wedge that’s sprinkled with crumbled macadamia nuts. Yeah, go for the ricotta fritters.
NOISE LEVEL: Noisy at the bar, but the dining room is large enough to hold varying levels of noise. Conversation is possible.
FULL BAR: Yes, a full liquor bar; separate bar area. Happy Hour runs Monday through Friday from 3 to 7 p.m.
HOURS: Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and offers a DIY Mimosa and Bloody Mary Bar for $18 with purchase of an entrée.
The restaurant reopens Wednesday night for its 31st season with an updated dining room and, according to chef/owner Marcello Fiorentino, expanded food and wine options.
“Some new dishes will be added to the menu,” says Fiorentino by email. “We continue to grow our wine list, adding 250 more selections than last year.”
Fiorentino, who spent three weeks in Italy last month as part of his annual search for culinary inspiration, has planned a new series of La Sirena’s popular wine dinners. The season’s first takes place next Tuesday.
To keep La Sirena’s fans updated, Fiorentino has added a blog to the restaurant’s website, LaSirenaOnline.com.
The Regional is slated to open to the public for dinner service on Saturday Sept. 10. Several friends-and-family meals are planned for earlier in the week, followed by an invitation-only “housewarming” party on Friday, Sept. 9.
The heavy lifting – the renovation, the décor, the principal staffing, even the arrival of 4000 premium wines in four shipments – is finished. Restaurateur Thierry Beaud (Pistache, PB Catch) and managing partner Autry have breathed warmth and light into the 10,000-square-foot space once occupied by Pampas Grille, which closed in October 2014. (Other previous inhabitants include McCormick & Schmick’s and Columbia Restaurant.)
Beaud’s TITOU restaurant group created cozy, manageable dining and drinking areas and a separate, funky bar/ lounge that can close itself off to the larger restaurant and party on its own. Even the hostess stand is unique — it doubles as a concierge desk, where diners can learn about local shows, shopping and other events.
The full reveal is a concept that’s driven by copious amounts of Southern soul.
To that point: The place will offer tableside pimento cheese with a variety of mix-ins. (And, yes, it involves Duke’s mayonnaise and homemade hot sauce.)
The menu alone is more than an eclectic listing of tempting dishes. It’s the abbreviated autobiography of a young, rising chef coming into her own.
“I’ve had a lot of time to write a million menus and scratch them all up. But what I feel really good about is that this menu is kind of an expression of all of my experiences as a chef,” says Autry, a Bravo “Top Chef” alum well known to South Florida dining enthusiasts. “I feel the menu is a true expression of me, not only as a chef but of me as a person.”
Up to now, we’ve seen glimmers of this chef as she’s led other kitchens (Sundy House, Michelle Bernstein at The Omphoy) and headlined local culinary pop-ups and festivals. But this menu promises something greater: the work of a cook who syncs her chef-fy skills with her Southern heart.
The menu pays tribute to North Carolina-born Autry’s Southern roots, Mediterranean influences (from her Greek grandmother), and cooking experiences in South Florida and Mexico.
Such a mashup inspires menu items like Country Ham Carpaccio with cornbread sticks, apple slaw, clothbound cheddar and pepper jelly, and Roasted Bone Marrow with pickled shallots and crispy onions, and sweet-tea brined Fried Chicken Thighs with bread and butter pickles, and Grilled Snapper in Banana Leaf with green tomato salsa verde, and Red Wattle Pork Shank with creamed hominy and braised greens.
As the menu suggests, The Regional incorporates fine dining elements without being stuffy or overly precious. Autry says this is her preferred balance in cooking.
“Most of my experience has been fine dining, and I still like fancy and pretty things, and I like being a chef and taking my time to cure things and cook for days, but I want food to be approachable,” says Autry. “And what I love is taking nostalgic things, like pimento cheese for instance, and taking my experience as a chef and making that even better.”
A rare Argentinian-owned restaurant has landed on the banks of the Intracoastal in Delray Beach. Che Restaurant opened Monday in the sprawling space formerly occupied by Hudson at Waterway East.
Dreamed up in Buenos Aires, the restaurant concept was brought to life in Spain by brother-sister restaurateurs Daniela and Martin Sujoy. On Spanish soil, they built a Che empire of 15 related restaurants in 15 years. (They include Che Pizza & Pasta, Che Asador Argentino and Che American Style).
“For Delray Beach, we wanted to pay homage to our Argentinian roots while highlighting European inspiration,” said Martin Sujoy via news release.
The Sujoy family got its start in the food industry in Argentina, where they managed country club concessions before opening a financial district restaurant that grew into a catering operation.
At Che Delray, expect dishes with Argentine and Spanish accents on the menu. There are Argentinian classics like choripan (chorizo sandwich), Buenos Aires-style pastas and grass-fed South American steaks with chimichurri sauce. Inspired by Spain, there’s Galician-style octopus and paellas. On the side: sparkling waterfront views.
The Sujoys hired Spanish interior design company Paco Pleguezuelos to breathe new life into the 8000-square-foot space. The result is a sprawling restaurant with inside/outside dining areas and two bars, with plenty of room for large parties in between.
One local fast-casual restaurant is about to spread its love of healthy bowls far and wide across Palm Beach County.
Bolay, the popular bowl-centric restaurant that opened in Royal Palm Beach nearly seven months ago, is ready to open locations in Palm Beach Gardens and Boca Raton.
First up is Palm Beach Gardens, where a Bolay location is expected to open Oct. 29 on Northlake Boulevard in a 2500-square-foot space across the street from Costco. A slightly larger Boca Raton location will follow when Bolay opens in the former Voodoo BBQ space at the Polo Club Shoppes on Dec. 1.
The Bolay concept is focused on clean, nutritious eating, offering a selection of grains, vegetables and meats for customizable bowls. Beyond the ordinary range of salads, the restaurant aims to build bowls that are filled with nutrient-rich ingredients, such as Peruvian quinoa, roasted butternut squash, smoky cauliflower and a variety of lean, flavorful meats. Every dish is gluten-free.
For the sipping, there’s fresh-pressed juices and herbal teas.
The younger Gannon is quick to note special dietary preferences “aren’t special requests” at Bolay. “They’re always featured selections. Each bowl carries the perfect balance of tasty and creative zest that our guests love,” he said via news release.