The western suburbs of Broward and Palm Beach Counties tend to be known more for a profusion of chain restaurants rather than a trendy dining scene.
It's the cities and towns east of I-95 that get all the cred in the food scene.
The recently opened Bocce Wine Bar and Tapas is now offering modern American fare to the western suburbs of West Palm Beach.
We recently attended a media dinner and got a first look of the place.
Opened on March 8, the restaurant offers a wide selection, craft beer, artisanal cocktails, and boutique wines to go along with the offering of modern American small and large plates.
Set in the former site of DiSalvo's Trattoria, the small restaurant is filled with white clothed tables, elegant drapes, and warm lighting fixtures for a comfortable yet sophisticated vibe. A few tables are available outside and somewhat spacious bar is set to the far side of the dining room.
The bar program should be a main draw of the restaurant. It features an interesting selection of craft cocktails, many of which incorporate house-infused spirits. Try the Beet Me at Bocce ($12) with beet gin (one of selections made on the premises), fruitlab ginger liquer, honey tarragon syrup, and lemon juice. It's slightly sweet with a light beet flavor -- it doesn't taste like dirt, if that's what you were thinking -- rounded out with the mild spice from the ginger and the herbal tarragon.
Another interesting choice is the Hot Daniela ($12) with jalapeno infused Sombra mescal, solerno blood orange, cilantro, and lime; it's mildly smoky with just a touch of heat from the chili.
Every Monday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m., happy hour includes weekly changing bottomless wine for $12, a $5 craft cocktail, and a $3 craft beef.
On Wednesday all bottles of wine are half-off for the Wine Down Wednesday special.
The menu is broken down into small tapas ($5 to $15), pastas ($15 to $19), sides ($4 to $7), grilled pizzas ($14 to $19), and plates ($18 to $24).
Owner Bob Higginbotham calls the fare modern American with a strong rustic Italian influence. Many of the ingredients are sourced locally from Palm Beach County farmers.
Highlights include cherry smoked scallop ($13) with porcini panna cotta, leeks, and gastrique; oxtail gnudi ($16), arrowhead oxtail, ricotta horseradish gnudi, gorgonzola, and basil emulsion; cavatelli ($15) with spring peas, mint, and a pureed carrot sauce with parmigiano reggiano; and Flo's Clam Shack pizza ($17). Based off the renowned Middletown, Rhode Island restaurant, it features butterpoached littlenecks, melted leeks, burrata, local corn, and guanciale.
Brunch is offered every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a weekly changing selection of locally sourced breakfast and lunch items as well as constant $10 bottomless brunch cocktails. Recently featured dishes include, pancakes ($8), two cakes with meyer lemon jam and whipped butter; polenta and eggs ($11) polenta, lake meadows farm eggs, pancetta, and oven roasted tomatoes with hollandaise; and watercress salad ($11) topped with prosecco poached chicken, yellow squash, toasted almond, taleggio, and clover honey.
Bocce Ball Wine Bar & Tapas is located at1760 N Jog Rd #180 in West Palm Beach. Call 561-275-7000, or visit boccewinebar.com.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.