One of the signs of a sophisticated dining culture is when smart, ambitious young chefs open their own highly individual, ingredient-driven restaurants, and in downtown Boca that’s just what Alberto Tucci did.
The chef-owner of Tucci’s pizzeria has just opened his second eatery, 13 American Table (451 E. Palmetto Park Rd., 561/409-2061) in the old Lily’s location, just a short walk down the street from Tucci’s. 13, though, has nothing to do with pizza. Rather, it’s dishing casual, contemporary American food—a little gastropub, a little white tablecloth—with a menu created by chef de cuisine Anthony Fiorini, a vet of Delray’s acclaimed 32 East.
Along with an emphasis on local, sustainable seafood, the menu features dishes cooked in one of the few Josper ovens in the U.S. The Josper is a Spanish import, something of a high-tech cross between a charcoal grill and an oven, which enables it to cook foods quickly and at high temperature (it normally runs between 800 and 900 degrees, Tucci says) while retaining all natural and charcoal flavors.
What that means in your mouth are dishes like grilled salmon with Marcona almonds and scallion beurre blanc, filet mignon with blue cheese and cabernet reduction, and grilled octopus with salsa verde. Veggies get the Josper treatment too, like the making for 13’s French onion soup and grilled broccolini. And there’s more: local mahi with lemongrass-shrimp broth, chicken confit and spinach pesto grilled cheese sammie, and of course, a thick, juicy burger.
Along with places like Rebel House and Sybarite Pig, 13 American Table is making the Boca dining scene look a lot more interesting.