Villacrusis Reigns Supreme at Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival

In Battle Flank Steak at this year’s Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival, former Mark’s CityPlace sushi chef Roy Villacrusis bested ex-Top Chef contestant “Bulldog” Howie Kleinberg and private chef Jeremy Hanlon in a 30-minute-long cookoff on one of the coldest nights of the year.

Villacrusis, who recently opened Kubo Asiatic Cuisine (1201 Hwy. 1, 561/776-7248) in North Palm Beach, earned a $5,000 check and $5,000 donated in his name to the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League.

His winning dish was a room-temperature combo of seared-raw steak sliced in long, thin strips, with a salad of shredded romaine lettuce hearts, basil, scallions and mushrooms smoked with a hand-held device called the Smoking Gun and drizzled with a yuzu-soy dressing.

Even though it’s a little early for making Year’s Best awards, Kubo already has my vote for best restaurant in PBC for 2010. It’s simply one of the most exciting and original restaurants in South Florida, and you’re crazy if you don’t check it out.