Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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EatBeat: Copper Canyon Grill Preview for Charity Tonight

September 4th, 2009 · 4 Comments

ccanyon-margarita

Olive-studded Margarita

Boca’s newest American eatery, the Copper Canyon Grill, kicks off tonight with a charity event for the Junior League of Boca Raton. (It’s a sell-out – sorry). The restaurant opens to the public Monday night (Sept. 7).

I wrote about the Canyon and its background previously – now, I’ve had a chance to see it and sample their menu at a media lunch earlier this week.

Comfort ambiance and food

ccanyon-interior

Warm, casual interior

It’s a nice, comfortable spot for mid-level dining — full entrees billed mostly as “comfort food” are mostly in the $14-$24 range.

There’s a huge horseshoe bar in the center of the room that overlooks the theater kitchen, with tables all around the perimeter on two levels. A small wine room is set up for small (8 or so) private parties. A rustic white arched ceiling over the bar, black leatherette booths, and warm woods below give it a nice contrast. Though the neon over the main open kitchen is a bit jarring, at night and with a full house, it might not be so obtrusive.

From-scratch foods

We started with a pretty good Margarita with a twist — olives with it – served in a martini glass. Different – I like olives so it works for me – and they’re salty. Not so important with this well made drink that, thankfully, wasn’t syrupy sweet. They use freshly squeezed juices to make their drink mix – they claim everything they serve along with main items – sauces, relishes, etc. –  is made in-house and daily. They have no freezer space for anything but ice cream.

Crazy for the crab cake

Crab cakes

Quarter-pound crab cakes

I can honestly say they serve one of the best crab cakes I’ve had down here – “Mary Ellen’s Eastern Shore” crab cakes are two quarter-pound mounds full of tender jumbo lump crab meat and almost no binder — but flavorful in all ways. It was my favorite among the many dishes we sampled.

Smoke just right on ribs

Ccanyon-ribs

Meaty ribs

The fall-off-the-bone tender St. Louis-style ribs are notable — they’re slow-cooked an average of 12 hours over a blend of hardwoods, including hickory and pecan – which give the meaty ribs a subtle smokiness – eliminating the chemical flavor of “gas grill” faux-smoking. The sauce is also well balanced — not too sweet or spicy, but just enough to complement the smoke. A full 2 pounds of ribs come with two sides.

You can order them with the filet – topped with a pool of melted Gorgonzola, this was tender and smoky, too – though I think it’s overkill to eat both (no pun intended).

A perk we really liked: The napkins with lemons served alongside these finger foods — servers pour a  pot of warm water over them at the table – for those ribs, they’re a must-have.

A luscious bird

Ccanyon-chickens

Chickens on rotisserie

Their signature dish, however, is their rotisserie chicken — definitely not your grocery store bird. Full of flavor from a 31-herbs-spices blend that’s rubbed on the skins, the poultry is skewered and set under an infared burner to sear in the juices, then starts their spinning. Cooked over the wood flame for two hours to perfection, the juicy plump chicken lands on the plate with mashed potatoes and green beans – comfort food at a new level.

Apps are varied

A variety of appetizers are on the list — among them, a “fiesta” egg roll, filled with the rotisserie chicken (it’s pulled fresh and used in all chicken dishes), corn and black beans, and served with a “campfire” sauce – a smoky barbecue-type concoction; a spinach-artichoke hot dip with tortilla chips (we found this just average – nothing wrong with it, but maybe we’re jaded where it’s concerned); the creamy Delmarva crab dip that my friend declared “too creamy” and without texture, but it’s OK taste-wise.

Shrimp “cargot” a good choice

Better was the “shrimp cargot” — shrimp baked in an herb butter sauce and topped with Havarti cheese, set in the classic escargot dimpled dishes then run under a broiler. A pretty big “wow” factor when you sopped the toasted baguette in the sauce.  Also tasty, a smoked salmon crostini  – though the entree version of “short-smoked” (cold smoked) salmon that was grilled, and served with a mustard sauce, bested them all in our opinion.

A sushi offering is on the menu; it wasn’t ready for us at the preview lunch, but they promise “unique” rolls. An aside: Gotta love this country, where sushi sits on a menu with meatloaf and has made it to “comfort food” status.

Impressive finishes

CCanyon-choco-dessertTheir Key lime pie is a really good version — nutty Graham-crackercrust, tart, creamy pie filling – fine. The towering “Chocolate uprising” is a show-stopper, however — a split chocolate brownie sandwiched with a thick layer of vanilla ice cream, topped by a milk-pail’s worth of whipped cream and drizzled with warm caramel sauce. Definitely enough to share with three or more.

Copper Canyon Grill

  • 2006 N.W. Excutive Centre Circle, Boca Raton
  • Phone: 561-893-8838; www.ccgrill.com
  • Open: Daily, beginning Sept. 7, lunch and dinner, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, till 11 p.m. (No reservations, but calling ahead puts you on the top of the wait list.)

Tags: The Eat Beat: Restaurant News

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Candice propane smoker // Dec 28, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Copper Canyon Grill just keeps getting better and better. Their smoked salmon is to die for… great review by the way. – Candice

  • 2 Candice // Dec 28, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    …great place to eat. Especially the smoked salmon.

  • 3 Candice // Dec 28, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    …great place to eat. Especially the smoked salmon.

  • 4 Claire // Dec 28, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Ah yes…. the cold smoked salmon is second to none. This my favorite place by far… ~ Claire

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