I will admit, I’m not a huge fan of Delray Marketplace out on Lyons Road in West Delray Beach. There are a few reasons for that. First being, I live east. To get there is a hike. Second, once you’re there, finding a spot to park can often time be challenging.
However, this past Saturday, I met some friends for a last-minute, late-night dinner. When I say “late night,” it was 10pm. Not wanting to grab a burger or chain Mexican food, we decided to try out Apeiro Kitchen & Bar.
Apeiro is owned by Rapoport’s Restaurant Group, a local company that owns Deck 84 on Atlantic Avenue in Downtown Delray Beach, Bogart’s Bar & Grille at the Cinemark on Airport Road in Boca Raton, Burt & Max’s right next door to Apeiro, and Henry’s on Jog Road in Delray.
I was under the initial impression that the restaurant was Italian, but after checking out the menu, I discovered it’s more Mediterranean although there are some red sauce items on the menu, in addition to dishes predominantly Greek in nature.
When we arrived, the restaurant was still pretty busy with almost all the outside seating taken and several tables occupied inside. We opted to dine in and were taken to a large booth that sat the four of us comfortably.
Our server introduced herself, took our drink order and came back to see what we wanted to have for dinner. We all started out with cocktails, which took a bit long to get from bar-to-table, and not all four came out at the same time. Side note: try the Moscow Mule, it was quite refreshing and served in a Russian Standard Vodka copper mug.
For appetizers, we chose an order of Meatball Sliders (3 of them served on toasted brioche rolls and topped with tomato sauce and ricotta), Bar Harbor Mussels (served with a saffron cream sauce, oven dried tomatoes and grilled ciabatta) and an order of Moroccan Spiced Chicken Wings.
The Meatball Sliders were a good choice – a hearty portion that the four of us cut up and shared. The meatballs were moist and tender and overall it was a great appetizer.
The Moroccan Spiced Chicken Wings were also a hit, a tad bit crispy but not overdone and they didn’t over-do it with the spice. Not an overly impressive appetizer, but a classic standby.
The worst app of the bunch was one that we were all looking forward to trying, the Bar Harbor Mussels. They came highly recommend by our server so I was excited to give them a try. A bowl came out full of large mussels in the cream sauce that looked delicious. Looks quickly were deceiving. The first one I tried was chewy and loaded with sand. Thinking it was a fluke, I tried another. Same thing. A mouth full of sand and a very unappealing taste. Not wanting to ditch the mussels before having my dinner mates confirm my complaint, they tried them as well, and all were left with a bad taste and sand in their mouths.
I told our server about it and asked her to take them away as they simply were not good.
On to the mains. Two of my dining companions were in the mood for Italian food (this was my fault since I thought the place was an Italian joint!) so they ordered the Rigatoni Bolognese but substituted the Rigatoni for spaghetti at the recommendation of our server. The pasta was cooked an absolute perfect al dente and the meat sauce that accompanied it was hearty and flavorful. The portion was large enough that half of one portion came home for lunch the next day. The dish got good reviews from one and a not-so-good review from another.
Dining companion number three went the Mediterranean route and ordered the Lamb Kefta. A kabob made of house-ground spiced lamb served with a tzatziki sauce and accompanied by a green onion salad. The lamb was cooked to the requested temperature and no complaints there. The green onion salad takes a hit because one diner found seven (yes he counted) scallion roots in the greens, which should have been discarded as part of the prep process. The roots still had dirt on them, which made him pass on eating the salad all together.
I was a bit on the hungry side and mentioned that to our server when I ordered the Beef Tenderloin Kabobs. Hearing that, she steered me away from them and into the direction of the Prime Delmonico which she said was a bit larger. I ordered it and asked for it to be prepared medium rare.
I was a little disappointed with the size of the steak (the menu did not list how many ounces it was and I didn’t ask), but it was cooked to the requested temperature and was tender. It was served with broccoli and very good charred onion mashed potatoes. Overall, not bad, but for $39 I would have expected the steak to be a bit larger than it was.
We all passed on dessert as it was late and were pretty full.
Impressions: the restaurant is laid out well, decorated well and has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Service, with the exception of the amount of time it took to get drinks, was good. The food was what I would call average. Nothing stood out that made me want to make the trek out west to dine with them again. With that said, I plan on visiting Burt & Max’s next door to see how their sister restaurant in Delray Marketplace compares.