There's nothing wrong with a little ambition in the kitchen. Since launching back in March, Oceans 234's culinary series for foodies, "Culinary Cult" has been able to adequately showcase executive Chef Victor Franco's range in the popular seafood restaurant's kitchen. Events of this nature usually take northern rides with dollar amounts but for a very reasonable $60 a head, this can be a rewarding once-a-month experience for adventurous diners on a budget.
This month's cult meeting, finalizes the summer of 2014 with one last kick of tangy beach vacay flavor with "Passport to Paradise: A Caribbean Affair" and it being the fourth in the series, it will be heavy with expectation as the chef and his kitchen can no longer rely on rookie/sophomore mistakes. It might not break the bank, but the series does pride itself in exclusivity and exclusivity demands perfection -- all the hallmarks of the better cults.
The paired menu will feature six courses with the opening one-two punch being a ham and cheese croquette and a spiny lobster salad with hearts of palm and scotch bonnet peppers in a passion fruit vinaigrette. These palate motivators will be served with a ginger lime-aid and a classic daiquiri respectively. Splitting a surf and turf notion with the middle servings, Chef Franco will tackle a Bahamian-inspired cracked conch and his version of rabo encendido, a Cuban braised oxtail dish. Rum-spiked beverages will help these and the following plates wash down.
Closing the savory portion of the dinner will be a curried goat roti, now taking his cues from the beloved Jamaican comfort dish. Crispy yucca and mojo rice and beans subbing for the familiar rice and peas will accompany the serving with a rum old fashioned. Tres Leches will finalize the meal and while it might be the least impressive of the menu items, it certainly is a notorious dessert for its cloying sweetness, which given the amount of tropical rum drinks that will tandem ride the servings, will be interesting to see how they tackle its sugar content.
This is a fine and fitting closing to this past summer season. Aside from the food and the educational discussion on the food and beverages, the cult further enhances the experience by meeting exclusively on Oceans' waterfront patio for its monthly bacchanal. Due to limited seating, reservations are required to join in on the cult activity. You might want to continue with the cult but don't worry, nothing too crazy here that will make your parents wonder where they went wrong or file "abducted against will" charges against Chef Franco and staff.
"Culinary Cult" from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Oceans 234, 234 North Ocean Blvd., Deerfield Beach. $60 per person and reservations are required. Call 561-750-3500 or email [email protected]