Pinch me! For two weeks in a row I’ve gotten to join my fellow bloggers for a night out. Our latest gathering was Tuesday evening in the heart of Boca Raton. Roots Italian Kitchen hosted us for a special evening of Northern Italian fare with a healthy twist.
You may remember Roots from from an article I posted in the beginning of the year. Well, the restaurant has changed ownership and the new purveyors, Yuriy Kouzenkov and his business partner, Chef Michael Latimore prepared an extensive dining experience highlighting some of the specialties on their new menu.
We arrived to a restaurant already bustling on a Tuesday night. Yuriy welcomed us and explained their philosophy of Italian cuisine, “to present the most fresh, healthy and tasty dishes in a manner whereby each course leaves the (guest) always yearning for more… (by) combine(ing) both modern-creative and traditional styles of Italian cooking and present them with a healthy twist.” Sauces are hand-crafted and contain little butter or oil and every dish includes and highlights a vegetable. In fact, this is the first time I’ve been to an Italian restaurant and didn’t get a plate of pasta (though it is on the menu).
Our first course was an amazing cheese platter which included a trio of house-made Buffalo mozzarella, Burrata and truffled cream drizzled with Balsamic glaze. Prosciutto di Parma, roasted red peppers and vine-ripe tomatoes augmented the dish and when I combined them onto a piece of crusty bread, it was “the perfect bite”.
The next offering was Sicilian Eggplant Parmesan. Instead of being breaded and fried, this was a simple slice of cooked eggplant in a light tomato sauce with melty mozzarella. It was flavorful without being heavy and filling. I’m not much of an eggplant person normally, but I ate my portion in its entirety and would go back just for another taste.
One of the specialties of the house is the Organic Handcrafted Yukon Gold Potato Gnocchi. Thrice the size of regular potato dumplings, they served their gnocchi two ways, with an Alfredo and a fresh Pomodoro sauce. The pomodoro was my favorite – with a bright tomato-y freshness.
Our main course was a dazzling trio of Chicken Marsala with wilted spinach, Truffled Risotto topped with Tiger Shrimp and Salmon fillet paired with Jumbo Shrimp. Each item was prepared impeccably, the chicken was moist and flavorful in a sweet marsala wine sauce. The risotto was rich and earthy (and I’m still trying to figure out how they got that gorgeous harvest yellow color – turmeric, saffron???) but for me, the salmon was my go-to dish. I thought it was poached in a butter sauce, but Yuriy cheerily shook his head, saying it was pan sautéed and finished in the oven. Well, I’ll be…
No meal is complete without a little something sweet and they didn’t disappoint! In fact, there were four different desserts to sample — and I admit to having a bite of each one! The traditional Tiramisu lived up to its reputation with coffee soaked ladyfingers settled among layers of mascarpone and cocoa. The Cannoli Cheesecake was layered with traditional cheesecake and cannoli cream with a cannoli garnish. There was also something our waiter referred to as “a cross between cheesecake and creme brûlée”. The only thing missing was the telltale crunchy sugar shell. In a nod to the season, chef Michael served a pumpkin cheesecake, not too sweet and garnished with crispy spiced pepitas. This was my favorite dessert and a memorable way to end a delightful evening.
Don’t take my word for it… See for yourself:
Roots Italian Kitchen
212 S. Federal Highway
Boca Raton, FL 33432
Open for Dinner, Catering and available soon for Lunch