Though health-conscious dining is an ever-growing trend, it’s not like “green” restaurants are popping up like McDonald’s on every street corner.
That’s why I was so excited to learn that the West Palm Beach-based Darbster had opened a new spot in Boca Raton (6299 N. Federal Highway, 561/586-2622). The Boca Darbster certainly is inviting, with seating options in a large bar area, a spacious dining room or a lovely covered patio that allows you to bring pets.
The proof, of course, is in the menu and its execution. At Darbster, this includes a large selection of organic and bio-dynamic wines, beers and cocktails. The night I dined at Darbster, I tried a nice organic Pinot Noir from Oregon. It had a deep, rich color and on the first sip you could sense the aroma of dark cherries, cinnamon and cassis. It wasn’t too sweet and had nice long finish that revealed a little bit of spice.
For my first tasting, I opted for the seared “scallops,” palm cake and “chicken” nachos. Yes, this is not a regular meal for me—I was simply curious about these particular menu items. If you are a regular vegan foodie, you should enjoy all of the menu items here, but if you like your seafood in a conventional way, I would skip the “scallops.” They are absolutely delicious, but you can’t help but notice the texture and taste of the tofu.
On the other hand, the “chicken” nachos were superb. Meat eaters and vegetarians alike will love this dish that bursts with delicious flavors and balanced textures. This filling appetizer has it all—the blue corn chips, vegan queso, vegan sour cream, black beans and the “chicken.”
Palm cakes may recall crab cakes at first glance, but the meat of this cake is actually shredded hearts of palm. The texture is oddly similar to crab and with the right seasoning and panko crumbs, palm cakes are a fabulous substitute to the traditional seafood fare. The only downside of this dish for me was the gluten. However, if you don’t have any gluten sensitivities, give this dish a try.
Overall the menu was filled with cooked and raw vegan dishes that I think will satisfy even the most discriminating palettes and prices were very reasonable. For example, appetizers range from $8 to $10 and entrées are between $9 and $17. The only thing I didn’t love was the dessert. While I savored the coconut ice cream on top of a raw vegan brownie at their Palm Beach location, Boca’s Darbster only had soy ice cream and their brownie wasn’t gluten-free.
Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise. I was already full (and satisfied)—and already considering menu items for my next visit, a list that will include the avocado pizza, tacos and the noodle-less lasagna. Here’s to healthy eating!
About Alina Z.
Alina Z., aka “The Green Goddess,” is a certified holistic health coach, detox specialist and raw-food chef (she conducts occasional classes at Whole Foods in Boca). Prior to moving to Florida, Alina hosted her own TV show in Maryland—“Entertaining A to Z”—for people who didn’t have time to cook but wanted to eat healthy. Catch one of her web episodes at eHow.com, visit Alina’s website at alinazhealthcoach.com, or follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/CoutureFood) or Twitter (@CoutureFood). The Green Goddess blog runs every other Wednesday at bocamag.com.