Asian Explosion on Clematis Street
Everyone knows that Clematis Street in West Palm Beach offers a variety of dining options. In other words, those on diets should just stay away – there is nothing for you here. Recently, two Asian restaurants have opened – Kabuki and Palm Sugar, and a third, Fuku, will open soon.
I love Asian food – or at least, I love the American version of Asian food. I am smart enough to know there is a huge difference between the two.
Kabuki is right next to Don Ramon. It does a great lunch and happy hour business. Its ratings online are high – most people give it five stars.
Kabuki serves sushi and Thai food. Its prices and specials are good.
My friends and I enjoyed our sushi and Thai lunch combos very much. The service was somewhat haphazard during the busy lunch hour. However, one of the four of us had some unpleasant after-effects from the meal. Perhaps the tendency for haphazard service had spilled into the kitchen as well.
Recently, we learned that Kabuki has been cited with no less than fourteen health code violations, many of them critical. Probably those with weak stomachs should consider avoiding this one in the future.
Palm Sugar has opened more recently. It’s on the corner of Clematis and Dixie. You would think that would be a great location for a restaurant, but its predecessor, Bahama Mama, didn’t last very long. My friends and I noticed a lot of street noise that disturbed the vibe – perhaps that was part of the problem.
Palm Sugar is an Asian Grill and Dessert Bar. Hallelujah! The only problem with Asian restaurants is they seem clueless about dessert. Palm Sugar wants to rectify that.
My friends and I took them at their word and stopped by for drinks and dessert one evening. The atmosphere is a little schizophrenic, with the words “Palm Sugar” in an irritating red tag cloud all over the walls and the traffic noise a stark contrast to the classy lighting, music and wood furnishings.
The dessert selection was interesting. The best of the bunch seemed to be a soft cheesecake parfait, complete with fresh fruit at the bottom, and a chocolate cookie, strawberry and mint garnish. There was also crème brulee in three flavors. That’s interesting, except two of those three flavors were weirdly tea-based. There was a nice selection of cupcakes, but most of the chocolate ones were polluted with nuts, coffee and green tea.
The presentation of the desserts was fabulous, and the dessert wine selection was wonderful and affordable.
The dinner menu seemed to be primarily noodle dishes. I’m not in a hurry to try them, but I am in a hurry to get back there for another glass of Muscadel. I know my priorities.
When Fuku opens, I will be first in line to try it out. I have to say that Palm Sugar and Kabuki have not set a very high bar for Fuku to beat to become the very best Asian restaurant on Clematis Street.