By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor
Delray’s 50 Ocean Executive Chef Thomas Op’t Holt’s dishes have stories beyond the flavors they tell your palette.
Like how the fish dip was perfected during Hurricane Irma with leftover frozen fish, the chicken liver mousse is his aunt’s recipe and the Carolina Gold Rice featured with the shrimp étouffée has a history that dates back to the start of when South Carolina led the country as the largest rice producer.
These items along with a duck confit empanada, updated shrimp cocktail with homemade cocktail sauce and a Kurobuta Pork chop dish are all part of a new menu the restaurant recently debuted.
“We’ve kept our most popular items, but added an extra element of excitement,” Chef Op’t Holt said. “As always, the emphasis is on sustainable ingredients as well as locally sourced produce, meat and seafood.”
Many vegetables and micro-greens are sourced locally from places like Swank Farm in Loxahatchee. Several dishes are gluten free.
Chef Op’t Holt shines with sauces. His homemade cocktail sauce takes tomatoes from start to a sauce that should be bottled. With a meyer lemon granite mixed into the tomato, the play on lemon merged with the tomato taste is a winning combination. His homemade green goddess dressing on top the Little Gem Wedge salad pairs well with the homemade goats milk ricotta cheese.
Sauce isn’t the only homemade menu item to shine. His in-house jumbo ravioli was a sweet surprise. Stuffed with duck confit, fig and caramelized onion, the pasta was rich and sweet. Topped with a gorgonzola cream that added some salt, one piece of the jumbo ravioli was more than enough.
New seafood entrees include a salmon dish on top of a blue corn Johnny cake, a smokey shrimp étouffée with gator andouille and swordfish.
Of the two new meat offerings, the half-day braised lamb shank and the pork chop, the pork was the way to go. With a quinoa spatzle, the dish was flavorful and fillings. Chef Op’t Holt said his Chicago roots come through with the dish.