When you think of Palm Beach, you picture yacht clubs adorned with Ralph Lauren décor, patrons in Brooks Brothers blazers, and ladies in seahorse-embellished Lilly Pulitzer dresses, carrying their white fluffy dogs.
Well, you can scratch all that when Clay Conley is involved.
Conley's newest restaurant, Imoto (Japanese for "little sister") is the Asian extension of his highly acclaimed Buccan. And like Buccan, it is a bastion of normalcy on an island of excess. This upscale yet friendly setting is a place where mere West Palm Beachers can drive over the bridge to enjoy a meal on The Island, and not feel like the redheaded stepchild.
Then there's the food: far from normal. The Japanese inspired menu features out of this world sushi, sashimi, and hot plates. The combinations are imaginative and kind of eccentric. Who else would think to serve north Atlantic fluke sashimi with black truffle ponzu and crispy potato ($16)? Or the ($18) kona kampachi sashimi with avocado, tomato, jalapeno, grape, fried garlic, and yuzu wasabi sauce?
Ironically, our favorite dish does not include fish. It's the $17.50 peking duck tacos served with fresh plum sauce, sesame, and carrots. Now why would we chose a duck taco at a Japanese inspired restaurant? Because it truly is amazing.
If you're not familiar, confit is a method of slow-cooking meat in its own fat. Not the healthiest cooking method in the world, but it is freaking delicious. Conley confits this duck, then quickly fries it to crunchy perfection. He then tops them with scallions, spicy mustard, sweet homemade plum sauce and tangy carrot slaw. Every well-thought-out ingredient adds yet another layer of flavor and texture: cool, warm, spicy, sweet, tangy, savory. One bite of Conley's taco, and you will fall in love. And you'll definitely be a bit heartbroken when its over.
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