Food: Service: 32 East opened in 1996, and the name commands the attention of all serious food lovers on Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach, Florida and beyond. Their long time reputation as “the best restaurant” on The Avenue is well deserved. Many others have come and gone, but owner Butch Johnson and his team of professionals keeps on leading the pack year after year.
In September 2016, Chef Nick Morfogen left after 17 years to try a new venture, and spend more time with his family. It was time for one of Nick’s best young mentors to step up to the plate. New Executive Chef John Thomas was the unanimous choice. JT as he is known to his friends, appears to be a happy-go-lucky type of guy, but he is “all about the food” and it already shows in the nearly seamless transition in the kitchen. The former executive chef at Tryst, John Thomas was excited to take over and continue the culinary legacy of 32 East with flavors of the old as well as introducing sensational new ideas from his own gastronomic repertoire.
On several recent visits, we enjoyed excellent meals and stellar service as well. From a wonderful variety of pizzas, to the famous Wood Fired Prosciutto Wrapped Bosc Pears, Pt. Reyes bleu cheese, spiced pecans and sherry wine gastrique & Upland cress, there are so many great choices on the daily changing menu. One night Chef John may offer Tuna Tar Tare, the next night Yellowfin Tuna Sashimi with white soy-pomegranate ponzu, cucumber, purple daikon, sesame, yuzu and wood sorrel. It may sound like a lot of ingredients on one dish, but they all work together in a tasteful harmony. How about Spicy Curry Sweet Potato & Coconut Milk Soup with chopped shrimp, cilantro & lime? Chef John’s food is so creative.
We shared a hearty dish of Penne & Braised Lamb Ragu, with white wine, tomato, rosemary and pecorino Romano along with an excellent Pinot Noir from the extensive wine list. Next came one of the taste sensations of the evening… Maine Scallops, with pineapple “aguachile”, marinated cherry tomato, charred avocado, crispy yucca & cilantro.
The aroma from the dish as it arrived was a wake-up call to our senses and let our taste buds know something amazing was about to happen.
The dish of the night…and possibly for me of the year so far was Chef John’s Boston Black Bass, oak roasted cauliflower, broccoli, tomato puree, Fresno chilies and blood orange salsa. What an incredible banquet on a plate. Each bite had a different taste which to me is a sign of a very well thought out recipe. Also on the table was the Dry Aged Black Angus Ribeye, with broccolini, red onions, potato-cheddar gratin & cabernet reduction.
Cooked to perfection, this beef was delightfully tender and fullof that ribeye flavor that satisfied our carnivorous cravings like no other cut of meat.
Desserts are stellar and ice cream is homemade at 32 East. We thought the Sweet Ricotta Creme Brulee
With Mini Chocolate Chips and Cannoli Crisps was an interesting twist on the original, but it definitely worked! We almost went for the Apple Cake with Salted Caramel, Vanilla Ice Cream, but ran out of room! 32 East long time slogan was “It’s All About the Food”, then a few years later I do believe it changed to “It’s Still All About the Food”. No need to worrytoday, because the slogans are right on the mark and the front of the house service never disappoints either.
Visit 32 East soon, where it is still all about the food and service, something many other restaurants should focus on more perhaps. This restaurant has always been a leader in the community, and maintain a commitment to green initiatives and environmental responsibility in their everyday operations, with an emphasis on local ingredients and sustainable food sources. Check out the exciting new flavor an feel of 32 East with the cuisine of Chef John Thomas, and of course the legendary Owner Butch Johnson. Tell them DinnerReviews.com sent you!