Openings, closings, comings and goings. . . that’s what’s on the restaurant menu this week.
In the openings department, several alums of Dennis Max’s eateries have opened their own restaurant in the recently refurbished (to the tune of $8 million) Fountains Center at Powerline and El Camino Real in West Boca. I don’t have many details on Butcher Block Grill, but I did get a peek at the menu, which basically offers updated American comfort food with an emphasis on steaks, plus a handful of Mediterranean flourishes. There are a half-dozen different cuts of steak, a few burgers, kebabs, veal and lamb chops and the like. I’ll report back with more details as they become available.
As for closings, it pains me to report that Ovenella on South Fed in downtown Boca has been 86’ed. I had a couple pretty nice meals there—crispy skinned snapper, pizza from the wood-burning oven. And I had my first bacon maple Old Fashioned there too. . . it inspired me to go home and make my own bacon-infused bourbon. It’s a sad fact of life in the restaurant biz these days that small, non-chain eateries without deep-pocket (and very patient) investors are finding it tougher and tougher to keep their doors open. RIP, Ovenella.
No comings this post, but one very significant going. That would be Jim Leiken, the prodigiously talented chef who replaced Zach Bell as top toque at Daniel Boulud’s exquisite Café Boulud in Palm Beach. (Like, where else?) The restaurant release this statement and nothing else: “After many years working for Daniel Boulud, Chef Jim Leiken has made the decision to resign from Café Boulud Palm Beach to pursue other opportunities and we wish him the best of luck for future. We will look forward to announcing our new Executive Chef in the coming weeks.”
UPDATE: Well, they just did. The new top toque at Cafe Boulud is Rick Mace, formerly from the "boutique hotel" RT Lodge in Tennessee. He's no stranger to the Boulud brand, however, as prior to heading up the kitchen at RT he was chef de cuisine at Daniel Boulud Brasserie at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas. As was the case when Leiken arrived to take over from Zach Bell, Mace will be reworking the Cafe's menu in his own (culinary) image in the coming weeks. So stay tuned...