Boia De is a small restaurant in a strip shopping center with closely set small tables and a long bar inside. There is a patio also. In the new Michelin Guide for Florida they were awarded one star. Lights are lowered, windows look out to the patio, the open high ceiling has exposed ductwork and there’s music in the background. The food is definitely American with a strong Italian influence – they make their own pastas. They stress natural wines and the place sells no liquor. The plates are small, meant to be shared and multiple ordered per person. The place is lively and fun with touches of that seen in the decorations and particularly their signature ‘!’, which is in neon outside and on the wallpaper inside. That ‘!’ well describes their food with an amazing amount of flavor and texture in each bite. Couple that with some outrageously friendly and helpful servers and you will have a great dining experience. Get a reservation and go!
Tagliolini Nero was squid ink pasta topped with King Crab, Vin Jaune, truffle and herbs. The cold pasta was dressed like a salad and topped with a generous pile of crab meat in addition to having it throughout the lower portion. It was very well seasoned and the pasta was a perfect al dente. The great balance of ingredients would rate this delicious.
Ika Crudo was made with cuttlefish, lima beans, beets and charred treviso. The soft and tender cuttlefish was slightly charred and mixed with huge lima beans. The subtle smoke flavor was throughout the dish with some ghost peppers adding a nice zing. The luscious beets were perfect with some charred treviso for another great dish.
Beef Tartare was topped with tonnato, garlic-shallot crumble and crispy capers. Alongside was a slightly greasy shrimp chip, but it wasn’t really needed. The crumble and capers added plenty of crunch to the knife-chopped tender beef. This was another example of a perfect blend of flavors.
Crispy polenta also contained marinated eggplant and ricotta salata. This was a definite favorite of mine. The totally crisp outside of each warm cube of polenta was filled with soft corn inside. A most divine and perfect textural contrast. Combine that with the cool eggplant that was lightly pickled and top with a generous grating of cheese. This was amazingly fun to eat while being delicious.
Chicken liver and foie gras paté was in a bowl with strawberry and chicken jus. We wanted to try this dish but knew we had ordered a lot already and the server suggested getting a half order. Perfect! It was plenty to taste the lovely rich liver/paté and combine it with the strawberry jam. In the center of the bowl was chicken jus that was very strongly flavored and perfect to combine with the other two ingredients. The buttered grilled bread was also great and a perfect vehicle to convey the rest to my mouth.
Octopus confit was plated with romesco sauce, baby fennel and watercress. The crispy octopus tentacle was first cooked confit and then battered and fried. It kept the interior chewy and tender while getting a fine crisp on the exterior. The romesco sauce was underneath and the almond flavoring in it was great with the tasty meat and salad. The greens were tossed with a light vinaigrette and mixed with some tender tiny potatoes. Another excellent dish.
Buffalo ricotta gnocchi alla Norcina were mixed with proper Romagna sausage and black truffle. The tender gnocchi were wonderful with the dense sausage and mushrooms. The truffle had more of an essence than a strong truffle flavor but it all worked together nicely.
Lamb Ribs Fra Diavolo were served with spicy cucumber pickles and Urfa yogurt. These were fairly spicy which blended well with the spicy sliced pickled cucumbers on top. They were totally tender but not a flavor-filled dish like the previous ones.
Crispy Tiramisu was recommended for our dessert by both servers. They were right. It was a kind of de-constructed tiramisu. The cake was fried to a crispy piece that was sandwiched between layer of sweet coffee cream and all was topped by coco powder and a few flakes of course salt. The salt really accentuated the luscious flavors of the cream and pastry. It was novel and tasty – I loved it.