New Restaurants Hitting the Scene

503

By Nicole Danna The Pineapple Contributing Writer El Camino 15 NE Second Avenue 561-265-5093 • elcaminodelray.com Cut 432 and Park Tavern owners Brandon Belluscio, Brian Albe, and Anthony Pizzo have introduced Mexican soul-food and a top-notch tequila bar — which opened its doors late December – to downtown Delray Beach. Located just off the city’s Atlantic Ave. restaurant row on SE 2nd Ave. leading into Pineapple Grove, the establishment offers patrons a taste of Mexico through the eyes of Executive Chef Victor Meneses. Originally from Juarez, Mexico, Meneses has constructed a menu of speciality dishes, modern tweaks of traditional family recipes that cover several regions of his home country. Creative license is taken with dishes like the smoked brisket nachos, charred octopus and squash blossom quesadillas. You can also get the familiar favorites like enchiladas and tamales, but we love the chile relleno, here pan-fried with egg — no breading – to keep with Meneses’ family recipe. A star starter, however, would be the fried pork skins, or chicharrón. Crunchy strips of fried pig’s ear, they let off muffled pops in your mouth and on the plate, hot from the fryer, like some sort of edible fire cracker, and are served with a cactus slaw and sour cream. And then come the tacos, served on a platter – tiny round tortillas coursed out as though they were on a tasting menu – from chili-rubbed skirt steak to crispy grouper. The Porch 85 SE 6th Avenue 561-303-3647 • theporchdelraybeach.com Built in 1907, the Blank House is the third oldest home in Delray Beach. Lovingly preserved, today the bright yellow cottage now houses The Porch, an upscale Italian eatery from new owners Heinrich Lowenberg and his wife Pamela Lomba, who opened the restaurant in January. The couple, who also own Cafe Via Flora in Palm Beach, told The Pineapple they fell in love with the historic home and decided its “old charm” was just what they needed to enhance their concept for home-cooked pastas and Mediterranean- inspired seafood. The menu will feature affordably priced entrees from $16-$25, with a focus on Italian, as well as a second specialty seafood menu highlighting daily fresh catches. Keep an eye out for the chef’s favorite, a sea bass papillote – French for “in parchment” – steamed with a medley of fresh, local vegetables, white wine, garlic and whole herbs. Vintage Tap 524 W. Atlantic Avenue vintagetap.com Good beer, good drinks, good music. They’re three things South Florida can’t seem to get enough of lately, and thanks to Vintage Tap, Delray Beach, too. The bar and live music venue is being called a “juke joint” – old school vernacular for a Prohibition-style speakeasy establishment where one can find plenty of live music, dancing, gambling, and drinking going on. Located a few blocks west of Swinton, Vintage Tap is keeping with the theme, taking up residence in a historic building located at 524 W. Atlantic Ave. Originally built in the early 50’s, the building – once known as the Clearview Lounge and earlier as Ted Teddy Bear’s – has been in operation since the early 30’s as a barber shop, pool hall, bar and music venue. This spring owner Ryan O’Riordan, former owner of Hooligans in Fort Lauderdale and designer of the Black Rose Irish Pub in Boca Raton, will be transforming the space yet again, fashioning it into a vintage-style biergarten and watering hole featuring 20 taps with a menu of craft beer a full liquor bar. The vintage concept will feature a Prohibition era-esque bar and stage; the biergarten will be adjacent to the city’s two-acre outdoor amphitheater where special events will allow for live outdoor music performances. Mussel Beach 501 E. Atlantic Avenue 561-921-6464 • musselbeachrestaurant.com If you’re craving mussels, or seafood in general, Mussel Beach is a good destination for all things crustacean. Owner Mark Mezzancello has partnered with Rotelli CEO Joseph Bilotti to revamp the former Delray Beach Rotelli location into a swank seafood shop. The kitchen is led by Chef Aaron Bender, formerly executive chef at Galuppi’s in Pompano Beach, who has composed a shellfish-centric menu covering a small selection of classic seafood dishes, but focuses on the real catch: Prince Edward Island mussels, served in a carnival of flavors by the pound in wooden buckets. There’s the classic garlic, shallots, white wine and butter; a rich and creamy lobster bisque; a spicy Fra Diavolo; exotic Thai curry; even a Mexican take with chipotle, chorizo, caramelized onions, squid and lime. The restaurant’s prime location at the corner of Federal and Atlantic has been renovated by local architect Steve Siebert, and features a white-tiled open kitchen, rustic hardwood floors, an underwater inspired ceiling and spacious booth seating. From the outside its hard to miss, vivid blue- and-white awnings providing a reprieve from the sun for a handful of outdoor sidewalk tables. Not in the mood for mussels? The menu has a short list of salads, appetizers and sandwiches – as well as a few dishes that steer clear of seafood fare – from ahi tuna burgers to scallops with artichoke risotto and honey-glazed chicken. Cake 112 E. Atlantic Avenue Cake has partnered with Rhino Donuts, the area’s newest craft coffee and donut shop, to bring a small retail bakery, donuts and coffee to-go to Atlantic Ave. later this spring. There aren’t too many things that go together better than coffee and doughnuts, and for South Florida entrepreneurs Davin Tran and Athan “Tom” Prakas — two men looking to reinvent the traditional doughnut-and- coffee experience — that’s just what Rhino Doughnuts & Coffee will do best. The new family of doughnut and coffee shops has already targeted several locations to open across Broward and Palm Beach County within the next year, beginning with two shops in Fort Lauderdale and one in Boca Raton, each one specializing in chef-inspired pastries, doughnuts and craft-brewed coffee. An example: The key lime doughnut where real key limes are used in the batter and filling, a custard that will be made fresh daily. Another signature find would be the homemade maple bacon glaze paired with a specialty smoked apple wood bacon.