What's happening in food and dining around South Florida.
Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille
Riverside Hotel, 620 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-467-2555, RiversideHotel.com
Three years after shuttering the Grill Room, the historic Riverside has debuted a fresh, sleek replacement, quite a departure from the previous continental old-style formality.
A raw bar serving East and West Coast oysters leads into a straight-lined dining room anchored by a wine cellar. Chocolate-brown chairs and banquette contrast the light-wood floor and cream walls with blue sea-creature light boxes, all punctuated by burnt-orange high-top chairs at the bar. Sidewalk seating entices as well.
Guests can nibble on the complimentary bar snack of white-cheddar, jalapeno popcorn or watch their server prepare raw seafood salads tableside.
The seafood-heavy modern American menu changes frequently with sustainable and organic ingredients, but you may find dishes such as scallop ceviche ($14), wild mushroom salad with goat cheese and smoked hazelnut vinaigrette ($13), monkfish with pork belly and rainbow chard ($32) and braised veal cheeks with sweetbreads and sunflower-seed gremolata ($35).
"When we were exploring a restaurant concept for Las Olas Boulevard, we reached out to visitors and the local community," says executive chef Toby Joseph says. "The concept recommendations were leaning overwhelmingly toward an upscale seafood restaurant experience."
After serving dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays, Wild Sea transitions to a lounge until 1 a.m. weeknights and until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights with cocktails such as tequila with blood orange, candied rhubarb and lime ($13) and a DJ on Thursdays and Fridays, or a saxophonist on select nights.
14811 Lyons Road, #106, west of Delray Beach, 561-638-9996, JapangoMenu.com
Kevin Lee, who was executive chef at the former Kyoto Sushi in Delray Beach, is expecting to open his third Japango mid-month in a primo spot next to Frank Theatres in the new Delray Marketplace.
"I have always wondered what it would be like to have a business where you have hundreds or thousands of people walking by on a daily basis," says Lee.
The menu and pricing will mirror its Boca Raton sibling and the original one that opened in Parkland in 2004. The decor, however, is even more fun and funkier with the sushi bar as the focal point, accented by vibrant terracotta and blue colors, a high ceiling, a gigantic display of sake bottles and LED lighting mimicking a wave of water. Alfresco dining will overlook the movie theater.
"I think the most important factor in Japango's success so far is the innovative sushi and consistent Asian cuisine," Lee says. "Customers have a vast selection of entrees from all over Asia such as Japanese, Thai and Chinese. And even Korean will be added later as well."
Signatures are shrimp and lobster wonton soup ($6.50), spicy tuna crispy rice ($9.95), tuna pizza on crispy tortilla with wasabi cream ($10.95) and Japango fried rice with shrimp, beef, chicken and vegetables ($13.95). Most of the 25 specialty rolls, such as shrimp gorgonzola with peanuts, arugula and port-wine reduction ($10.95), are less than $15.
Lunch and dinner will be served daily.
625 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-761-7920, JohnnyVLasOlas.com
This upscale restaurant serving Latin, Caribbean and Floridian cuisine has expanded its Sunday brunch by offering unlimited mimosas for $10 and adding specialties, which are available 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
French toast stuffed with berries and cream cheese, along with fig syrup ($12) and Captain Crunch-crusted fried chicken and waffles with maple syrup, melon and berries ($13) have proved the most popular dishes. The menu also includes cheddar, potato and tomato frittata with wilted spinach, melon and berries ($12); Benedict-style eggs with melon and berries ($12 to $14); poached eggs with fresh mozzarella, tomato, wilted spinach, bruschetta, hollandaise and balsamic syrup ($12); braised short rib with asparagus, buttermilk biscuits, poached egg, hollandaise ($14); and white-cheddar potato gratin, country ham, poached eggs, green beans and hollandaise ($13).
Dinner additions are salad with a trio of grilled cheeses and creamy pesto dressing ($13) and grilled venison strip loin with sweet potato "Duchess," cauliflower with blue cheese sauce and green beans wrapped in serrano ($42).
"We're getting more local middle-aged professionals these days. I think our demographics are getting younger," says general manager Nathan Yoder.
14555 SW Second St., Pembroke Pines, 954-874-1001; 1880 N. Congress Ave., Suite 170, Boynton Beach, 561-853-0280; VillageTavern.com
After testing 15 new Sunday brunch dishes at its Pembroke Pines branch, this classic American chain is featuring some of the bestsellers in Boynton Beach.
Choices are corned beef hash and eggs ($12.95), quiche Lorraine ($9.95), smoked salmon plate ($12.95), Monte Cristo sandwich ($10.95), smoked salmon Benedict ($13.95) and bananas Foster waffle topped with whipped mascarpone ($8.25).
Some of the new items exclusive to Pembroke Pines are breakfast quesadilla ($10.95), bread pudding French toast with fruit compote and pecan streusel ($10.95) and cheese potatoes ($3.50).
Brunch begins at 10 a.m. in Pembroke Pines and at 11 a.m. in Boynton Beach, ending at 3 p.m. Both offer a complimentary bloody mary, mimosa or glass of sparkling wine.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times