By Jan Norris
A Parma Bar with a list of specialty cured meats, duck breast with candied figs, and herbed meatballs with a pomodoro sauce made with herbs from the garden just outside. This is a movie theater restaurant?
“We take a lot of pride in using the freshest ingredients,” said Andre Lane, the chef at Tanzy of Boca Raton. That includes the fruits and vegetables that go into the handcrafted unique cocktails, like the prickly pear sour sop Margarita.
“But it’s more about the experience. We’re connecting with our guests, creating an escape for them.”
The restaurant that sits at the bottom of the iPic Theater in Boca Raton’s Mizner Park serves moviegoers looking to escape into a film fantasy for the evening. But, Lane said, the staff of Tanzy treats diners to a different escape — one where they can relax in an eclectic environment that happens to have good food and service.
With a modern Italian menu, the chef said his goal is to bring unusual twists to familiar foods.
“We haven’t forgotten the core ideas of what Italian cooking is all about — good, fresh food with simple preparations that are flavorful. But we’ve modernized it without forgetting the tried and true. Our shrimp scampi, for instance, is deglazed with bourbon.”
The restaurant isn’t an afterthought. It was built on the corner visible to Federal Highway to attract the public that is welcome anytime — they do not have to buy a ticket to the theater to get in.
“For us, it’s great we have the movie theater upstairs. Diners can have a fabulous meal and then go upstairs to be entertained. But this is perfect as a destination for those who just want to go out, have a great evening with friends and have a wonderful meal. We want them to be thrilled by the attention to detail — from the décor to the service to the foods,” Lane said.
Along with regular meal service, interactive wine dinners are scheduled monthly throughout fall.
The Portofino Lobster Pasta at the Red Brick Grille in Delray Beach has penne pasta, roasted garlic, lobster and spicy lobster bisque cream sauce. In the background, Connor Sneeden, who was celebrating his 6th birthday, crouches down low to better watch his ball during an afternoon of bowling. Libby Volgyes/The Coastal Star
Dinner and a few frames
At the new Delray Marketplace, the Cinebowl complex offers 12 theaters, including an Imax screen, state-of-the-art bowling, an arcade and the Red Brick Grille.
Bruce Frank, one of the owners of the Frank Theater group, said the concept at the American bar and grill was a comfort-casual restaurant. “We wanted to develop a fresh, homemade-style American that was not your run-of-the-mill food you’d find in a recreation facility. And one that could be a stand-alone concept,” he said.
There are two others — in Philadelphia and Myrtle Beach, S.C., — also attached to theater/bowling complexes, but the company is talking about a Red Brick Grille stand-alone.
“The menu varies as to its location, but some items are standard throughout. We’re sensitive to local flavors — Florida has more seafood, Syracuse (opening soon) will have more proteins,” he said.
The menu features something for every diner, or as Frank says, “age-appropriate.”
“There’s enough variety that everyone can find something here. Gluten-free, fish, beef or exotic — if you’re out in a group, everyone can dine.”
From coming in for finger food before a show, or a full meal after a night out, the restaurant’s menu accommodates all expectations, he said.
He listed some menu items: lobster-spinach queso, Bavarian pretzel basket, edamame, four types of chicken wing sauces, flatbreads, crafted sandwiches.
“It’s American, but you’ll also find on it a pear and brie flatbread, pizza Margherita, a carver’s pizza with several different meats on it — or you can build your own. Our desserts are made here — chocolate fudge brownie cheesecakes; a phyllo-wrapped brownie with ice cream.”
At the bar, there are 20 craft beers, a wine list and 15 signature cocktails on the menu.
The concept is to have everything under one roof. “Why should you have to go to a different building to get something to eat when you go out to a movie or want to go bowl? Why can’t you park once — and have everything in one place?”
The lively atmosphere has mostly to do with the placement — watch the action on the lanes or at the dozens of TVs around as you eat.
The beignets at Jazziz at Mizner Park in Boca Raton.Photo provided
Dinner and a jazz show
The cool, sophisticated supper-club atmosphere at Jazziz in Boca Raton was part of the reconstruction of the old ZED451 space in Mizner Park. Here, chef Justin Flit creates dishes inspired by the many top restaurateurs he’s worked with — Daniel Boulud, Michael Mina and Oliver Saucy of Café Maxx in Pompano Beach among them.
Co-founder Michael Fagien wanted the place to appeal to those who may not be jazz aficionados, but who enjoy good food, a cigar (there’s a cigar bar), or fine wine and champagne. The club is equipped with a machine that can dispense Champagne by the glass — and seal the bottle. It’s the first in Florida to have it.
Diners are treated to unique combinations that could be compared to the music with global influences: seared diver scallops with roasted grapes, charred Romanesco cauliflower dressed with vadouvan curry — a blend of French and Indian exotic spices. A potato leek soup is served with duck fat potatoes and a curl of crispy prosciutto, or a fish is dressed with saffron sauce and shaved fennel.
The menu is seasonal, with lobster and summer truffle risotto, or a chilled Maine lobster salad with mango, avocado and citrus vinaigrette changed out once the weather cools.
An emphasis on foods and condiments made in-house, like the whipped ricotta, the hamburger bun on the freshly ground beef burger, or an onion slaw and buttermilk cornbread to go with the baby back ribs show the chef’s root talent.
The desserts have a touch of New Orleans flair and are served with a bit of whimsy: beignets hot from the fryer arrive at the table in a bag, served with several sauces for dipping. An assortment of house-made cookies and bars is accompanied by a smooth crème brûlée.
Fagien says there’s something here for every budget — from the $12 burger that garners raves from burger fans in area contests, to a wood-grilled swordfish served with fried calamari and salsa verde ($33). Salads, pizza, wings and steaks keep the bar and patio customers happy.
At Sunday brunch, diners are offered a light jazz live performance or sax player roaming the room.
There is an admission charge for all scheduled performances, but various ticket prices, including a general admit ticket, allow diners to choose a seat at the bar or patio to hear the music while dining. Private rooms also are available, with glassed-in views of the stage.
“We want to be known for our food as much as great jazz,” Fagien said. “We want to offer the best of both.”
The Morikami Museum’s Cornell Café offers a variety of fare, including the karafuru, or rice noodles tossed with red, orange and yellow sweet peppers, fresh mint and basil, and topped with a sweet and sour vinaigrette. Photo provided
Lunch and peace and quiet
The Cornell Café is Morikami Museum’s pan-Asian restaurant — and it attracts a lunch crowd daily for the bento box, or lunch “bowls” filled with crispy chicken, broccoli and rice, or beef with sautéed vegetables, also over rice.
The more exotic and authentic Japanese foods are here — the eel bowl or the manju ice cream flavored with bean paste among them.
Traditional favorites include the vegetarian fried eggplant, crispy pork with tempura sauce and stir-fried vegetables, and the sushi and sashimi selections. The menu is extensive and a la carte — with beer, sake and wine available — all at a quite reasonable price.
It can’t be beat for serenity: The café overlooks the peaceful Japanese gardens named Roji-en — garden of the dewdrops.
Appearing as one, Roji-en actually is a group of six distinct gardens inspired by some of the most famous gardens in Japan.
For an admission price, visitors can go through the museum galleries, which feature a rotating exhibit of art and artifacts from the Japanese culture.
Also here is the original museum that houses the historical Yamato Colony exhibit, telling the history of the Japanese colony that came to the Boca area to establish a pineapple plantation in the early 1900s.
The café is open only for lunch (closed Mondays), but at the museum’s frequent festivals, other foods are available from on-site vendors throughout the day, though an admission fee is usually collected.
If you go
Tanzy at iPic
301 Plaza Real (in Mizner Park), Boca Raton
Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Red Brick Grille
14775 Lyons Road (in the Delray Marketplace), Delray Beach
Open daily for lunch and dinner.
201 Plaza Real (in Mizner Park), Boca Raton
Open for dinner and late dining 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday-Saturday; Sunday, for brunch and dinner noon to 9 p.m.
Cornell Café at the Morikami Museum
4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach
Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday.