Jan Norris: Food and Florida

Food, Restaurants, Recipes and Pre-Disney Florida

Jan Norris: Food and Florida header image 1

EatBeat: Leila Sold, Cafe Monet Moves, La Bamba Opens Soon

September 11th, 2008 · No Comments

Bad news and good news:  Roy Assad has sold Leila — his sharp Mediterranean/Middle Eastern spot on Datura in downtown West Palm Beach.

The good news: Leila’s first chef, and now owner of the notable Naylah in Royal Palm Beach, Alex Awad, has bought it and will keep it open.

The restaurant’s presently closed, but is slated to reopen the second week of October with a revamped, lower-priced menu, a slightly spruced-up dining room, and of course, and the hookah pipe on the patio.

Awad’s already won raves for his fare at Naylah — very similar (down to the dishes used) to Leila’s — kebabs, fresh grilled vegetables, rack of lamb, lamb kefta, a kibbeh bowl, (a raw-meat kibbeh on the weekends) hummus, tabbouleh and fava bean salads, muhamarrah (my favorite — walnut and pomegranate mixture), fresh pitas, and sambusek — meat pies. Coming off Leila’s menu will be the not-so-popular salmon kebab.

Dessert specialty will be the traditional kenafi — almost like a pudding, with farina on the bottom with a sweet cheese layer, and then house-made orange blossom syrup and pistachios to top it off.

(Check out a video of Naylah from South Florida Dines’ Taylor Morgan, another top source for local restaurant news: SouthFloridaDines.com)

For a preview of Leila, go to Naylah.

  • Naylah
  • 1051 Southern Blvd., Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411
  • Phone: (561) 798-4343
  • Open Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner; Sunday, dinner only 5-9 p.m.

Chef Hubert, redux

Fans of the former chef of the Four Seasons Palm Beach, Hubert DesMarais, will want to know of his newest restaurant, Cascata Grille. It’s part of his new gig as corporate chef of the Fairmont Turnberry Isle in Aventura, Miami.

Chef Hubert DesMarais

Chef Hubert DesMarais

He’s up to his old tricks — he has a rare fruit garden on the premises — we’re quite sure that was in his contract for the job.

“It’s Southeast regional fare,” he told us. “I have a Creole black grouper with okra and tomatoes, and a peppered-bacon-wrapped barbecue shrimp, over Anson Mills grits.”

He’s using all fresh ingredients, plus organics whenever possible, to create other dishes like his adobo-marinated lamb loin with glazed potatoes and tomato jam; a black grouper with a citrus-tomato nage — a bouillion-typ.e broth, generally seasoned with herbs and made with wine, but in this case, tomato and citrus juices are used. A refreshing version of tuna-tartare, made with ginger and lime, is one of the apps.

For dessert: Pineapple upside down cake with house-made coconut sorbet; or a praline dish with coffeebean ice cream — all made in-house.

Really great are the meal deals — the Miami Spice restaurant specials — that he’ll continue even after the September promotion is finished. A three-course prix fixe lunch is $23; while the dinner is $36. They have wines paired to that as well, and even the chef thinks it’s a steal.

  • Cascata Grille at the Fairmont Turnberry Isle
  • 19999 W. Country Club Dr., Aventura
  • (305) 932-6200
  • Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

Monet Moves

Cafe Monet, the tiny tucked-away eatery that was just off Alt. A1A in Palm Beach Gardens, is moving to Lake Park, on Park Avenue. It’ll go into a strip-mall across the street from the Post Office, hopefully with much more space.

Just in time to capture the audience of the new Park Plaza condos opening at long last. Perhaps that will punch up that location for all the great shops and eateries along there. Long overdue.

No word on when their grand opening is just yet; check back (bookmark this web site for easy check-ups).

Quick bites:

Coming soon: La Bamba Mexican and Spanish Restaurant, on U.S. 1 in North Palm Beach. It’s a stand-alone, and opening soon (hiring now).

Tags: The Eat Beat: Restaurant News

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment