Rebel House off Palmetto Park Road in Boca Raton is serving some of the most delectable dishes this city has seen. Despite the elevated gastronomy, many aren't aware of executive chef and co-owner Mike Saperstein's ever-changing menu, which focuses on seasonal fare and varying cooking methods.
The result: a rainbow of color, flavor and texture.
This past weekend the restaurant debuted its late spring menu, swapping in dishes that highlight unique picks like Peeky Toe crab from Maine, jerk goat, and house made venison sausage and salami chips.
While it's easy to find fresh ingredients and locally sourced produce at many South Florida establishments, it's not always as easy to find a chef that can make them sing, infusing the dish with a subtle flair for an inspired eating. With a style that pays homage to creativity, Saperstein's new menu items are proof of cooking outside-the-box of tried and true culinary precepts.
"These dishes are weeks in the making," Saperstein tells Clean Plate Charlie. "Sometimes they're specials that did very well, and we'll fine tune them until it's just right. There's always lots of experimenting going on here."
This month, expect to find a focus on seafood, especially picks coming into season including American-caught snapper, Florida stone crab and Key West pink shrimp. At the moment, Saperstein is obsessed with ramps -- a perennial find also referred to as a spring onion or wild onion. A scallion-like bulb, strong garlic notes make it perfect for using in a variety of dishes this season -- everything from the leaves to the stem -- because of its ability to enhance flavor.
Take the Key West Pink Shrimp A La Plancha (pictured above) found on the menu's "munchies" section, an amalgamation of creative tapas-style sharing plates. During season, these sweet and succulent shrimp are one of the finest Southern delicacies for the summer season -- especially in South Florida, where these crustaceans abound. To make them truly spectacular, Saperstein cooks and serves them in the shell with a tomato scampi butter accented with a hint of preserved lemon zest.
Another tapas highlight for the season: the Peeky Toe Crab Toast. These crabs can be found up and down the East Coast, but are especially abundant in the waters off Maine. Considered the "poor man's lobster," its delicate flavor and mild sweetness is best suited to simple preparation. Saperstein transforms the delicate meat into a crab salad, a bacon confit, crushed avocado and heirloom tomatoes over toast.
A sunny side up duck egg makes a simple dish more indulgent, a combination of grilled asparagus, house made deep fried salami chips and pecorino croutons finished with a lemon pepper sabayon. Saperstein uses the sabayon -- the French name for zabaglione -- as a sort of Hollandaise despite its most popular use as a light, mousse-like Italian dessert made by whisking eggs, sugar and white wine over gently boiling water until the eggs thicken to form a light sauce.
Here, Saperstein takes a slow-cooked, chile-infused brisket and shreds it over house made mini sopes, and finishes with a roasted corn salsa and jalapeño crema. The brisket itself is the main focus, a four-day cooking process that extends a rich, deep flavor to this dish.
Who doesn't love peach season? At Rebel House, the spring menu highlights this summer fruit with a tasteful presentation. Sherry-brined peaches are grilled and served alongside La Quercia prosciutto rosso from acorn-fed Berkshire pigs. The buttery cut of meat is aged up to a year, and pairs perfectly with a pungent Italian Toma cow's milk cheese, spicy roasted walnuts and rosemary infused saba -- Saperstein's own potent balsamic vinaigrette made from the must of the grapes used to make balsamic vinegar.
Follow Nicole Danna on Twitter, @SoFloNicole.
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