Juan Gando chuckled as he remembered friends’ reaction to the idea of he and business partner, Chef Dustin Parfitt, referring to their new restaurant menu as “Fashion Cuisine.’’
“They asked, ‘What are going to do? Serve fish with a tuxedo?’’’ Gando said. “But we did it and now we’re pretty established.’’
That is, Gando and Parfitt established Oli’s Fasion Cuisine 10 nearly 10 years ago in Wellington, Fla. The eatery quickly became (and remains) a favorite of the trendy west Palm Beach County crowd, as well as the Winter equestrian residents and celebrities. The restaurant, which has attracted the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Bill and Melinda Gates, was named in honor of Village pioneer Oliver Wellington.
Now the duo, who began their culinary careers working together at Palm Beach restaurants, Nick & Johnnie’s and Cucina Dell’ Arte, is seeking to establish their Fashion Cuisine menu in Boca Raton. The second Oli’s Fashion Cuisine, complete with white table cloths and a lakeside view, opened one month ago in The Boardwalk Plaza on Boca’s west side.
“We really believe it fits in well with Boca,’’ Gando said.
The Fashion Cuisine menu in Boca Raton is the same as in Wellington, meaning that it includes entrees’ such as Pan Roasted Salmon, Grilled Skirt Steak, Tuna Tacos and Sesame Crusted Tuna Steak. Appetizers includes terrific Lobster Deviled Eggs, Beer Cheese Soup, Filet Medallions and Fried Brussel Sprouts.
Each is artfully plated on white plates that showcase the colors of the food and house-made sauces.
“If (the food) looks good when you sit it down, that’s usually a trigger to the brain that it’s going to taste good,’’ said Parfitt, a Wellington native.
Perhaps the best example of Parfitt’s “fashion cuisine’’ is Oli’s salads, each of which is “stacked’’ using a mold that creates a perfectly round, tower-like finish. Each is as good to look at as it is to eat.
My favorite? The Necane Chicken Salad with grilled chicken, strawberries, grapes, oranges, arugula, goat cheese and pine nuts.
Each Oli’s Fasion Cuisine location features weekly specials, such as 50 percent off the entire wine and champagne list (bottles only) on Mondays and 50 percent appetizers on Tuesdays. Each location also serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays (don’t miss the Southern Eggs Benedict and house-made Corn Beef Hash). Oli’s Thanksgiving menu will include Organic Roasted Turkey and Butternut Squash Bisque.
Photo Credits: Netanya Walton