Critic’s restaurant pick: finding Japanese flavors in Palm Beach

Crudo power: yellowtail at Imoto. (All photos by Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)
Crudo power: yellowtail at Imoto. (All photos by Richard Graulich/ The Palm Beach Post)

Central county pick: IMOTO

Like Buccan, its wildly popular big sister next door, Imoto (which means “little sister” in Japanese) prizes quality ingredients, preparation and presentation above all else.

Nothing less is expected from chef/co-owner Clay Conley, who fashioned the bar and eatery from his experiences working and living in Japan. The local star chef, who just reopened Buccan after a massive, 11-day makeover, is set to open a third concept in mid-November, an Italian eatery in West Palm Beach named Grato.

Imoto brings izakaya flavor to Palm Beach.
Imoto brings izakaya flavor to Palm Beach.

At Imoto, the menu features crispy starters, crudo (raw) small plates, wood-fired items, rolls and raw fish in various forms. While you decide, try a uni and oyster shooter with a quail egg, sake and ponzu – it’s the umami-rich sip we call “the sea in a shot glass.”

A trio of oyster shooters at Imoto.
A trio of oyster shooters at Imoto.

Imoto at Buccan: 350 S. County Rd., Palm Beach; 561-833-5522; Facebook.com/ImotoPalmBeach

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

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Restaurant of the week: seafood with a water view in Delray Beach

The jumbo lump crab cake at Hudson restaurant in Delray Beach on June 2, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
The jumbo lump crab cake at Hudson, Delray Beach. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

South county pick: HUDSON DELRAY

There’s nothing like a sparkling water view to remind us we live where many others vacation. Add a menu of expertly prepared seafood dishes and you’ve got a destination spot.

Executive chef Paul Niedermann inside Hudson restaurant in Delray Beach on June 2, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Executive chef Paul Niedermann.

Hudson Delray presents a solidly American menu with notable flair, thanks to executive chef Paul Niedermann, a past winner of “Hell’s Kitchen.” His lemony, olive oil-poached shrimp hum with hints of jalapeño and his crab cake rendition is chock-full of crab meat.

Those delicacies come at a price – this is not an inexpensive eatery. But with a newly debuted outdoor bar, Hudson has rolled out drink specials to greet football season. They’ve got game day covered on their many TV screens and promise to pour you a free draft beer if you wear your team’s football jersey.

Happy hour is also a good time to check out the outdoor and indoor bars – it runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, serving half-price drinks.

Hudson, at Waterway East: 900 E. Atlantic Ave., #22, Delray Beach; 561-303-1343; HudsonDelray.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

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Mediterranean at midday: Apeiro Kitchen opens for lunch

Apeiro is located at the Delray Marketplace. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)
Apeiro is located at the Delray Marketplace. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)

Fans of Apeiro Kitchen & Bar can now indulge in some of their Mediterranean favorites at lunch time. The suburban Delray Beach eatery, co-owned by restaurateur Burt Rapoport, rolled out a new, nicely priced weekday lunch service on Thursday.

The lunch menu’s “10 for $10” focus features 10 of chef/co-owner David Blonsky’s most popular dishes, served in lunch portions. Among these favorites: curry chicken salad, crispy eggplant, veggie omelet, chicken pita with fries and salmon salad.

Also on the menu: small plates, salads, flatbreads and desserts.

Margherita flatbread at Apeiro in Delray Marketplace Tuesday, May 26, 2015. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)
Margherita flatbread is served at Apeiro, Delray Beach. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)

Hours: Lunch is served Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday during those hours.

Apeiro plans a second location next month in Midtown Miami.

Apeiro Kitchen & Bar: 14917 Lyons Rd., Delray Beach; 561-501-4443; ApeiroRestaurants.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

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New on Clematis Street: The Dispensary diner and soda fountain

The Dispensary, West Palm Beach. (Contributed)
The Dispensary, West Palm Beach. (Contributed)

The Dispensary, a daylight eatery and soda fountain, has opened on Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach. The retro-hip spot is located inside the Center City Pharmacy, where The Vegan Café briefly operated.

On the menu: hefty breakfast dishes, including four types of Eggs Benedict, shrimp and grits, huevos rancheros, chicken fried steak, smoked salmon on bagel, waffles and biscuits with gravy. Lunch offerings include chickpea soup, potato soup, tons of fresh salads, burgers and sandwiches (BLT, prime rib, cheddar-Gruyere grilled cheese), various sides and daily specials. Soda fountain favorites, like shakes and sundaes, are served as well.

“People are loving the food,” says co-owner Christian Wiebel, a local restaurant veteran who most recently worked at the now-closed Garage VV in Northwood.

He opened the new diner with partner Gregory Galgano on Sept. 1 as an intimate, 45-seat eatery.

“We want to add more tables, but we want to start small, with a chance to grow. For now, we want to keep it small,” says Wiebel.

Clematis Street's newest diner has outdoor seating. (Contributed)
Clematis Street’s newest diner has outdoor seating. (Contributed)

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the full menu offered till 5 p.m. (From 5 to 7 p.m., soda fountain items, croissants and packaged salads are offered.) Open Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; closed Sunday. Hours are expected to expand in season.

Online ordering is available.

The Dispensary: 416 Clematis St. (inside Center City Pharmacy), West Palm Beach; 561-990-2555; TheDispensaryWPB.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

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