Monday, December 24, 2007

4 1/2 Star Review for Opus 5 by

Palm Beach County Dinner Review Opus 5

Food: *****
Service: ****

Opus 55050 Town Center CircleSuite 245Boca Raton, Florida 33486561-544-8000 Service: Reviewed by: Tom House

This is’s second visit and review at Opus 5 since legendary restaurateur Burt Rapoport opened this swanky eatery in May of 2006. My Celebrity Guest Jennifer Morrison and I sat at the bar and enjoyed a couple of the best Margaritas either one of us have ever had, while we watched lots of beautiful people come and go. Opus 5 is located in the shops of Town Center Circle, and is within sight of the Town Center Mall. Formerly the location of a great restaurant by the name of Zemi, Opus 5 has put this location back in the forefront of South Florida dining. Combine the tenacity and experience of Burt Rapoport with the culinary wizardry of Chef John Belleme…and you have an automatic winner.
Coincidentally, Chef Belleme used to be the Executive Chef at Zemi, so he is no stranger to this area. In addition, Belleme has cooked at a number of other Rapoport restaurants over the last nine years, including most recently Gotham in Delray Beach, and was also the Executive Chef at Max’s Grille in Boca Raton’s Mizner Park. Chef Belleme was co-owner and Executive Chef of Zemi from 2000 – 2004 and at that time was named “Chef to Keep Your Eye On” by Esquire Magazine’s John Mariani. Jennifer and I were excited to see what Chef Belleme and Burt Rapoport were up to now.
Hostess Alexis recommended a table on the outside patio, and we got the last one available in this popular area of the restaurant. The Christmas lighting was awesome, and it seemed that no expense was spared making Town Center Circle a holiday wonderland. An archway was created completely from millions of holiday lights, and every tree was lit all the way to the top…very cool.
Our waiter Jay was upon us immediately, offering bottled water and delivering a nice tableside dissertation of the specials of the day. We decided to start with Steak Tartar and Foie Gras two ways. The Foie was one of the specials and the delicate liver was sweet as candy, combined with grilled pineapple. The second way was poached au Torchon, The tricky part of this preparation is the wrapping of the foie gras carefully and tightly into a cylindrical shape using a clean dishtowel (the "torchon"), and tie the ends so that it stays put. The foie is then simmered in its previous marinade, usually with chicken stock as well, for about 15-20 minutes, until it is just heated through. Next it is cooled in its cooking liquid, and put it in the refrigerator until it cold and firm. When ready, this delicacy is better than any terrine you will ever taste, and Chef Belleme’s was perfect! The Steak Tartar was phenomenal as well. These appetizers were a tease of even better things to come, and Jenny and I were eager to explore Chef Belleme’s cooking prowess further.
For our main course, and after much deliberation, Jennifer decided on Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass, served with bok choy, enoki mushrooms, and finished with a ginger lime glaze. I chose Togarashi Roasted Scallops, served with asparagus, mushrooms, edemame and wasabi pepper sauce. These dishes were superb, with the scallops delivering just the expected kick from the togarashi (Japanese five spice) and the sea bass simply melted in our mouths. Other mouth watering choices on Chef Belleme’s menu included Maine Lobster Bolognese, Barbecued Pork “Chateaubriand”, Planked and horseradish crusted Atlantic Salmon, Grilled Yellowfin Tuna and a Crispy Free Range Long Island Duckling just to name a few. The menu has a decidedly Asian flair, but includes enough variety to keep everyone intrigued. Bell and Evan’s Farms ½ Roasted Chicken with Yukon Gold potato puree, asparagus and preserved lemon jus or Brandt Farms Braised Short Ribs with the same potatoes, wild mushrooms and summer vegetables are a good example of straight forward dishes with an American flair. Something for everyone! The Opus 5 Website claims that “Opus 5 serves superb American cuisine with Asian accents, in a casually elegant setting that combines New York sophistication with South Beach energy”. I could not have said it better myself…so I used their exact quote!Service was impeccable throughout our meal, and Jay’s tableside manner was professional but relaxed at the same time. Dining outside on the patio is fun, as the people watching is in constant motion. There are many other restaurants and shops in the Town Center Circle, and a variety of different types of people are moving about constantly, enjoying the dining, drinking, shopping and holiday lights!

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