Two of Palm Beach County's best chefs are busy working on the finishing touches of their new restaurant.
Called Aah Loi (Thai for "delicious"), the restaurant is a collaboration between Charlie Soo, the man behind Talay Thai and Roy Villacrusis, the king of pop-up cuisine.
Although the restaurant is located in the northernmost part of Palm Beach, at 3755 Military Trail in Jupiter, fans of the two chefs are sure to flock to the intimate eatery for casual lunch, take-out, or a more detailed dinner when it opens in the next week or two.
Although the name is Thai, the restaurant will feature both Thai dishes and sushi. Lunch and take out menus will offer Thai and sushi favorites like bento boxes.
Dinner, however, will take on a new dimension, offering both five-course tasting menus and omakase-style chef dinners that don't stop until you say "when". Chef Roy Villacrusis told Clean Plate Charlie that the dinner menu will change frequently. "Be ready for some creative sushi", he said.
A rotating selection of craft beer, wine, and sake will be offered at the intimate chef-driven restaurant, which seats about 40 people. There's also a small sushi bar, where four diners can interact with the chef as he works. Reservations will be accepted for groups of six or more in the dining room or for groups of four for the sushi bar. In the hopes that diners will sit back and allow themselves to be taken on a culinary journey, the restaurant will have a "no substitutions" policy, except for people with food allergies.
Lunch items will range between $5 to $15 and dinner item will range between $7 to $25. A five-course tasting menu will be priced around $50 to $60. The most flexible arrangement is the omakase dinner, where diners can set a price point or let the chef run free, with the evening running around $70 to $100 per person.
Villacrusis, who recently returned from a tour of Asia with stops in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan, said that he's inspired to make some good food. "Every time I go to Japan I'm always so impressed with what I see. Just the creativity behind what they do. Everything is made to order."
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Villacrusis also noticed that Japanese chefs work with the whole fish, "the fins, the tails, the innards," and that he wants to incorporate that respect for the fish into some of his dishes. "Over there they would serve the fish liver by itself. Not a lot of people might order that here, but if I use that as part of a dish, I think it would be successful."
Aah Loi will be open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 5 to 10 p.m., and for lunch Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.