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Monday, April 2, 2012

Kapow! Packs a Punch

  Growing up, I spent quite a bit of time at Mizner Park.  I've see the cyclical changes of its growth and constant struggle to reinvent itself.  Filled with trendy boutiques and entertainment options, the luxurious destination is a great place to spend some time strolling along the shops, or to engage in a little culture at the with their scheduled concert series.  What I missed completely was the transition to nightlife scene.  Unbeknowst to me, I returned to find the thriving area jam packed with trendy revelers and some cool new bars and restaurants.
   Kapow! Noodle Bar is a welcome addition, bringing upscale Asian with a farm to table concept and some unique hand crafted cocktails.  The inside is both edgy and fun, a colorful mural decorating the main wall along with dainty butterflies to tie in the natural element.  There is also plenty of seating available outside.
    Overwhelmed by the sheer volume of delectable sounding options, couldn't resist the special which was described by our waiter as "Sake infused watermelon caviar."  What we actually received was sushi-like in appearance, crisp cylinders of watermelon wrapped in a salty seaweed with balsamic caviar and sake pearls, alongside a stripe of robust wasabi mint cream (which gave the dish a nice bit of kick).  The waiter later confessed he wasn't quite sure what it was other than some "watermelon/sake caviar," which means I'm guessing as to what was actually in it and I apologize if the description isn't quite accurate.  Either way, it was as stunning in presentation as it was in flavor.

    Next up was "Beef Yukke" which delivered a generous mountain of rich Korean style beef tartare sprinkled with a smattering of greens.  Although it claimed the toasted bread was truffled brioche crisps, I can't honestly say I really thought it bore any resemblance to the thick and eggy bread I typically associate with brioche, nor was the truffle a dominate aroma or flavor.  In spite of what appeared little more than toasted white bread, making a sandwich with the slivers of julienned Asian pear, wasabi sour cream, and tender meat was an experience to be had.  The flavors worked synergistically to create a harmonious balance of sweet, slightly pungent, crunchy, meaty, and smooth all in one.  I could have eaten 2 plates of this by myself!
   My first foray into beef tongue (lately I'm venturing further and further into uncharted, for me, parts) started with a bit of trepidation.  However, once I tasted the grilled tongue I found it to be fairly similar to most other cuts of beef, with the notable exception that it was surprisingly tender.  Served with a teensy molehill of pickled daikon with sriacha dripping over the edges (momiji croshi) and a Japanese mustard/sesame soy dipping sauce, you could choose to give the garlicky meat some serious heat.  Since I tend to be a bit spicy intolerant I chose to ignore the hotter elements of the dish and yet still found it very enjoyable.  Meanwhile, my dining partner was able to revel in the elation of having as much fire as his mouth could handle.
    For the main course we chose the pan seared diver scallops.  Fluffy white rice was topped with caramelized scallops, bok choy and straw mushrooms, and then all the components were submerged in a velvety green curry sauce.  The scallops themselves were very fresh and  perfectly seared, with an ethereal silky smooth interior.  The rice was delightfully al dente and sopped up the spiciness of curry well.  The only complaint was that there was some bitterness from the bok choy that was a touch jarring.  I don't mind the veggie, but perhaps blanching or cooking a bit longer could have prevented this.  A very pleasant dish overall though.

     While the dessert menu only offered two selections, the carrot cake was an interesting reinvention of the classic.  Delicate and moist it was topped with candied carrot slivers and a heaping side portion of ginger cream cheese frosting.  Overall the dessert was far less cloying than most, almost erring on the side of not enough sweetness.
   With vibrant flavors and fresh, high-quality ingredients Kapow! elevates typical Asian concepts to new heights.

 Kapow! Noodle Bar
 431 Plaza Real  Boca Raton, FL 33433
 (561) 347-7322
 http://KapowNoodleBar.com
Kapow! Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

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