What's happening in food and dining around South Florida.
Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant
116 NE Sixth Ave., Delray Beach, 561-894-8599, Ceviche.com
This cozy 1925 historic home offers a retreat from lively Atlantic Avenue only a block north in the former The Falcon House — the sixth location of a statewide chain.
Seventy-five traditional Spanish tapas, plus ceviche, paella and salads, are the stars here. But the lively bar, intimate dining room accented with Moroccan-style lanterns and Spanish tiles, wraparound courtyard festooned with white string lights and heaters, and weekend flamenco band top off the evening.
"The flavor profile is something not being represented in Delray, even on Atlantic Avenue," general manager John Brewer says. "The tapas lend a more social atmosphere."
The lengthy dinner menu served Tuesday through Saturday can be overwhelming, so servers guide the way with explanations and recommendations.
"It's Spanish soul food," Brewer says. "You can eat light or heavy."
Yes, light such as octopus slow-cooked for two hours ($7.95 or $14.95), grilled mahi-mahi azafran with saffron and leeks ($9.95) and sauteed spinach with figs, honey and garlic ($6.95). Or heavy, such as super-creamy croquetas with chicken, ham and bechamel ($7.95 or $14.95), artichoke bottoms stuffed with ham and shrimp ($9.95 or $18.95) and sea scallops with manchego and sherry cream sauce ($11.95).
Sangria made table side and Spanish/Portugal wines organized by region compliment the tapas crafted from ingredients imported from Spain and served quickly.
Racks Fish House + Oyster Bar
5 SE Second Ave., Delray Beach, 561-450-6718, RacksDelray.com
From the parents of Boca Raton siblings Racks and Table 42 comes another progeny in the 1948 former VFW building amid the Atlantic Avenue bustle overlooking pretty Worthing Park.
While a few dishes are the same or renditions of the first Racks, such as an artichoke appetizer with remoulade ($10) and Idaho trout almondine ($22), the lineup diverges to showcase seafood with New England and Cajun influences, served daily for lunch and dinner with weekend brunch launching in February.
"We wanted to offer the locals something different when dining out, to avoid being your typical restaurant," says founder Gary Rack. "After traveling up the East Coast through New England, it was apparent these kinds of restaurants with an approachable cuisine are few and far between in South Florida."
The menu spotlights the raw bar and kettle specialties, such as the oyster stew ($12) or the spicier pan roast version with melt-in-your-mouth oysters ($13). The chefs thankfully don't shy away from using spice, particularly in dishes such as the Creole-style calamari ($11), oyster po'boy ($18) and enticing New Orleans steak & shrimp with voodoo sauce and Creole beans and rice ($36), lastly of which general manager Brian Sassen says is "made with pretty much everything in the kitchen."
The restored space incorporates a sit-down bar curving around steam kettles inspired by Grand Central Oyster Bar in New York City, and earth tones pervade an open-kitchen design with booth and banquette seating, a muted seafaring mural and nautical ropes woven on the ceiling. An indoor/outdoor bar trimmed in pressed tin bridges the open air to orange booths on the sidewalk.
The Tipsy Boar
1906 Harrison St., Hollywood, 954-920-2627, TheTipsyBoar.com
Restaurateur Fulvio Sardelli has added a third concept — a gastropub — to his literal row downtown.
"It's a nice little collaboration with wine and cheese at Vino on one side and Fulvio's 1900 fine Italian dining on the other side," says general manager Adam Russell.
A long bar dispensing 40 draft beers anchors the room, which is framed by porch seating on three sides. Cocktails, wine, bar snacks and heartier fare are served for lunch and dinner daily amid brick and stone walls, stone pillars, a giant chalkboard list of beers, a brick-oven pizza and upbeat music. Weekend brunch and a late-night lineup also are offered.
The priciest item is the roasted beer-can chicken for $19, and best-sellers are beef short rib croquettes ($7), four kinds of burgers ($12 to $14) including a Thanksgiving-inspired habanero turkey one, and pizzas ($10 to $13) including a rendition with duck confit, brie, mascarpone and caramelized onions.
"It's bringing Fulvio Sardelli's fine quality and product to a neighborhood price range," Russell says.
Giraffas Brazilian Steaks & Burgers
151 N. Hiatus Road, Suite 312, Pembroke Pines, 954-703-2884, Giraffas.com
This fast-casual Brazilian eatery will soon open its first Broward County branch in Pembroke Lakes Square in a quest for a statewide expansion following success at its Miami locations. Giraffas is one of the largest chains in Brazil.
"We appeal to a population that meets certain socio-economic characteristics, regardless of ethnicity," U.S. marketing director Carlos Vanegas says. "But we understand that Brazilian cuisine, although not Hispanic, is from South America, and therefore has some similar traits to other cuisines from the region. So, of course, our Hispanic fans find some familiarities in our menu."
The menu encompasses American-type standards such as burgers, steaks, chicken, shrimp and pasta dishes with twists such as picanha and maminha cuts of meat, Brazilian-spiced sauces and stroganoff sauce with pastas. Dishes such as $2 sides of quinoa and farofa anchor the traditional presence.
Prices range from $8 for a picanha burger with fries to $15 for salmon dishes. A selection of beers and speedy service are perks.
The contemporary design pulls together oranges and blues, counter seating, large semicircular booths and standard tables.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun