Up Close and Personal with the Art of Raw Fish

Sushi by Boū:  A One-of-a-Kind Sushi Experience

An ultra-private venue tucked away in an unexpected place. Opulent decor that tugs at the imagination. An intimate experience where 10 to 15 guests dine face-to-face with their chef, while getting up close and personal with . . . raw fish.

Sushi by Boū—which opened last year in Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens—delights diners with its modern take on the traditional Japanese omakase sushi experience. Omakase, as we learned during our memorable meal, literally translates to in your hands. It leaves not only food preparation but also complete menu selection in the hands of the chef. The result is an exceptional dining experience that makes the most of the highest quality, freshest, seasonal ingredients available to the restaurant’s culinary talent.

However, the result also can be a menu that is not seamlessly suited to the tastes of every diner and occasionally a surprisingly high check. To counter this, Sushi by Boū adds a much appreciated measure of flexibility to its offerings and provides two prix fixed menus, which can be adapted with optional choices. The fish is fabulous, and diners are never caught unawares.

In Boca Raton, the aura of exclusivity began as we entered a side door carefully shrouded by tropical greenery. The dimly lit, relaxing ambience combined art deco opulence with a touch of prohibition-era speakeasy, making us feel like insiders partaking an experience accessible only to those in-the-know.  . . . Yes, we had made it in.

The venue featured bold textures, dramatic architectural details and authentic art deco period touches such as trey ceilings, stylish lighting fixtures and thick velvet drapery concealing the activities within. Several enormous mirrored bars showcased an ample and artistic display of alcohol available to create cocktails of every stripe. The venue’s ambiance pays homage to Addision Mizner, whose indelible stamp on Florida architecture continues to shape the area today. Not to be missed are the somewhat daring restrooms that playfully nod at his affinity for monkeys.

With its own unique look, the Palm Beach Gardens Sushi by Boū location in the PGA National Resort enhances art deco design drama with crystal chandeliers, fringed lampshades, feather pampas, sweetheart lounges and more to create a truly luxurious art deco space.

To begin our evening, we took a seat in the cozy bar area and scanned the drink menu that offered a creative take on classic cocktails. I chose a wonderful Roku Martini, which blended savory Roku gin, Kabuto sake and olives, which quickly goes to your head. As we finished our libations, our chef summoned us to the sushi bar, signaling that the feast was about to begin.

Menu delicacies included Hamachi (yellowtail), Botan Ebi (spotted prawn, Ikura (salmon roe), Hotate (scallop), O-Toro (fatty tuna), Unagi (barbecued eel) and Signature Wagyuni (surf and turf). The latter, a creative departure from traditional sushi, featured beef along with fish, dramatically cooked tableside with a flaming culinary torch. Many sushi offerings were presented as rolls combined with complementary ingredients, while others came as Nigiri (slices of fish topping sushi rice) and Maki (fish and rice wrapped in seaweed cones). Our chef deftly managed a large set of sharp, intimidating knives as well as their fine manipulation, which resulted in a parade of eye-pleasing offerings blurring the line between art and cuisine.

Taking center stage, the well-sourced featured fish was pristine and flavorful, glistening in the darkened room. It was precisely cut, presented on expertly cooked sushi rice and enlivened with interesting marinades, sauces and garnishes such as glowing ruby fish eggs. Sushi, after all, is always a bit of dinner and a show – and Sushi by Boū doesn’t fail.

Playing to and pleasing his audience, our chef explained that he had interned and worked his way up the culinary ladder, learning at the hands of experienced sushi masters. He detailed the fine points of raw fish preparation and spoke about the choices that defined his own culinary style. By dinner’s end, we were a group of casual friends, and toasted the evening with a complimentary glass of sake, vowing to return again.

Sushi by Boū, A true pioneer of the micro restaurant concept, made its name in New York City and now counts 16 locations nationwide. The 12-course omakase menu is prix fixed at $60. A 17-course upgrade is $125. Both are served during one hour intervals. Reservations can be made at sushibybou.com or on OpenTable.