Friday, December 1, 2023

Roy Villacrusis to Open Pop-Up Restaurant

You can’t keep one of South Florida’s most talented chefs down. At least not for long.

Roy Villacrusis, whose short-lived Kubo in North Palm Beach was among SoFla’s most exciting and unique eateries and whose subsequent stint at Kapow! Noodle Bar was over almost before it began, will be back in the culinary saddle beginning Thursday, June 28, with a three-day-a-week restaurant in a restaurant at Bangkok O-Cha in West Palm.

To be called Chef Roy’s Studio (2062 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., 561/632-7385) the 16-seat space (with its own separate entrance) will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights only, serving 15 to 20-course tasting menus inspired by Japanese izakayas. Two prix fixe menus will be offered, at $88 and $100 per person, composed of 10 to 12 courses of Villacrusis’s signature “Asiatic cuisine,” six to eight courses of nigiri sushi (so forget the wacky-maki with cream cheese and mayo) and two or three dessert courses.

Villacrusis said he’s aiming to create a “casual but serious” restaurant where “I can cook the food I really want to make,” which will include several of the dishes made popular at Kubo. There will also be a small wine and sake menu, with any wine available by the glass, along with a specialty cocktail of the day and craft beer of the day.

As for the space itself, it will have a contemporary, minimalistic, art studio-type vibe, decorated mostly with Villacrusis’s notes on and drawings of various dishes. Though only open three days a week at the beginning, he said in the future he may open on Tuesday and/or Wednesday evenings for specialty dinners, like a tribute to original Mango Gangster Mark Militello, for whom Villacrusis worked for several years.

Before all that, however, Villacrusis is joining chef Eric Grutka for a pop-up dinner on Sunday, June 24, at Ian’s Tropical Grill (2875 Ocean Blvd., 772/334-4563) in Stuart. It will be six courses for $100, plus wine and munchies, with a maximum of 60 diners. Call the restaurant for reservations.

And one more thing. If you haven’t eaten Villacrusis’s food yet, you owe it to yourself to taste what one of the best and most fiercely individualistic chefs in South Florida is up to. His cuisine demands an adventurous palate, and it ain’t exactly cheap. But if he were in New York or Chicago or San Francisco or LA he’d be a star so enjoy him while he’s here. Believe me, you can spend a lot more money on chefs with much bigger names and not eat half as interestingly or as well.

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