As much as possible, I try to leave the magazine's restaurant writings in the more-than-capable hands of our renowned food editor, Bill Citara. He can detect the use of cardamom and coriander in a dish from a mile away. I've been known to put ketchup on my breakfast cereal.
But even an untrained palette like mine can appreciate the excellence emanating from the kitchen at SpoonFed in Delray Beach. What started as a four-month pop-up experiment near the train tracks on Atlantic Avenue has emerged as one of the area's must-dine experiences under the culinary eye of chef Glen Manfra, whose restaurant résumé includes buzz-worthy stops at Bice and Amici in Palm Beach as well as Vic & Angelo's.
Citara has described Manfra's cuisine at SpoonFed as "signature Italian with a World Twist." The twist, whatever it was, seemed more out of this world from where I was dining on a recent Friday night.
The Italian part includes more than a half-dozen wood-oven pizza offerings, and another dozen-plus homemade pasta dishes—from butternut tortelloni to lobster ravioli to tagliolini with filet tips in Marsala sauce. These, along with SpoonFed's signature salads and appetizers that are meals unto themselves (check out the mussels San Marzano, jumbo lump crab patty in garlic lemon aioli and the stuffed artichoke in garlic Parmesan broth) would be enough to keep many "Italian" restaurants in business.
But SpoonFed doesn't stop there. In addition to an unexpected raw bar—think clams, oysters, stone crabs (when in season), lobster and Alaskan king crab—Manfra rolls up his chef sleeves and authors a selection of "compositions" that showcase his considerable game. Crab-crusted grouper, bathed in a tomato basil nosh and scallion tomato salsa, couldn't taste any better; sole francaise in white wine and garlic sauce is so tender it literally tumbles off the fork; and the beef and steak offerings (veal chop Milanese, wood-grilled N.Y. strip and roast duckling, roast brisket of beef) turn heads when they are brought out of the kitchen.
The room is run to perfection by general manager Chris Farren and an outstanding team of servers, led by our man, Roberto.
One word of advice: If Roberto or any of the servers suggests the red velvet cake for dessert, don't even hesitate. Yes, each slice recalls a small U-Haul truck in size, but do yourself a favor and let the lusciousness run you over.
Like the rest of SpoonFed, it's an experience worth savoring.