The Ray Hotel, Delray Beach’s tropical luxury hotel which opened in September 2021, announced today that the highly anticipated Akira Back, the area’s first restaurant by a Michelin-starred chef and third restaurant at the hotel, will open on Friday, March 25. The Delray Beach location marks the eighteenth for Chef Back, who has locations around the world and promises a luxury dining experience like no other in the Palm Beaches. With its central location, Akira Back aims to attract visitors as well as locals from Palm Beach to Miami.
Born in Seoul, Korea and raised in Aspen, Colorado, professional snowboarder-turned-chef Back brings a sense of passion and adventure to his restaurants. Drawing inspiration from his Korean heritage and global travels, he has created a cutting-edge menu that seamlessly blends modern Japanese cuisine with authentic Korean flavors and will be the first restaurant of its kind in Delray Beach.
“We are thrilled to welcome Chef Akira Back to The Ray Hotel and believe that his creativity, technique and attention to detail will elevate and bring international attention to the growing dining scene in Delray Beach,” says Craig Menin, founder of Menin Development. “In addition to our signature restaurants, Rosewater and Ember Grill, Akira Back will complete our strong lineup of well-rounded culinary offerings.”
Chef Back’s menu is highlighted by a selection of innovative dishes inspired by his childhood in Korea and his global travels. Using the highest quality ingredients from pure A5 Wagyu to the freshest seasonal fish, Chef Back has thoughtfully curated menu items specific to the Delray Beach location, which pairs perfectly with the balmy South Florida climate, along with signature classics he’s become known for.
"The South Florida dining scene has exploded over the last few years and continues to attract more diverse tastes and options in the culinary market," says Chef Akira Back. "This restaurant blends my cultural roots and sophisticated culinary training resulting in an imaginative and unforgettable dining experience.”
The menu features several sections:
● Cold Dishes include the famous AB Tuna Pizza with umami aioli, micro shiso, white truffle oil; Jeju Domi with marinated Masago, red sorrel and Chojang and the Toro and Yellowtail Tartare with Oscietra Caviar, wasabi soy and brioche toast.
● New Carpaccio features either octopus, salmon, or flounder served with hot oil, yuzu soy, hoisin garlic, ginger and Szechuan salt.
● Hot Menu Items include the Truffle Bomb with sea urchin, sweet shrimp, Gejand, smoked potato foam and caviar and the Filet Tobanyaki with black market Angus, mixed mushrooms, and umami sauce.
● Signature Sushi Rolls include the Cow-Wow Roll with braised short rib and Asian slaw; Perfect Storm with shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, salmon belly Aburi and chipotle mayo; and Pop Rockin’ with spicy crab, cucumber, asparagus, and watermelon pop rocks.
● Robata choices include Lamb Chops with smoked jalapeño anticucho, King Crab Legs with dynamite sauce and pickled shimeji, and Scallops on the Half Shell with kimchi, bacon, and kochujang butter.
● Mains for sharing features 48 Hour Wagyu Short Rib served with root veggies, quail egg, and braising jus; Seared Halibut with Japanese mushrooms and soy Beurre Blanc; and the Tomahawk grade 7 Wagyu beef served with house blend of salts and sauces
● Kagoshima A5 Wagyu - the highest grade of pure Japanese Wagyu includes Tobanyaki with Japanese mushroom, umami sauce and truffle and the Tataki with garlic, spicy daikon and ponzu.
For adventurous eaters, the Nazo 9 is a chef’s signature mystery box unveiled with a tableside presentation and features a chef’s selection of sashimi and sushi (a minimum of two guests must order to enjoy it). Additional items include a selection of imported and domestic nigiri and sashimi, tacos, sides, soups, and salads. Fun and whimsical desserts include the AB Cigar with lucama mousse, chocolate brownie and cocoa nibs; Yuzu Citrus with sable crumble and strawberry gelato; and the House Mochi Cake with salted caramel popcorn and macadamia and coconut sorbet. Enjoy an after-dinner digestif with a selection of Dessert Sakes or Japanese Whiskeys to end the night.
Akira Back Delray will feature an expansive wine menu and sake list while offering cocktails that emulate the same inspired assortment of flavors taken from tradition and travel. The striking cocktail list includes standouts such as the Wise Samurai with Toki Japanese whisky, a blended whisky from Suntory's three distilleries: Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita enhanced with flavors of angostura bitters, orange, and brandied cherry as well as the Shiso Sunset, made with Grey Goose L’Orange, blood orange, yuzu, and fresh lemon. Each of the menu’s signature cocktails pairs perfectly with the restaurant’s eclectic food fare creating a multisensory fusion of flavors.
Designed by Celano Design Studios, the interior of the stand-alone restaurant on the ground floor of the hotel commands attention with a sculptural façade, cozy outdoor seating area, striking dining room, and sushi counter and bar. A dynamic and sculptural cladding of undulating teak panels wraps the restaurant façade creating a bold entry upon arrival. Guests enter through the bar area which acts as a backdrop to the open dining space. Floating wood liquor shelves are offset by a heavily carved blue stained wood front bar with a marble top.
The main dining area is anchored by three curved wood trellis structures creating an intimate scale and warmth to the space while also adding movement to the otherwise rectilinear room. Large round feature banquettes add additional softness and comfortable seating while keeping the space visually open to create a lively see-and-be-seen atmosphere. The banquettes are upholstered in a custom felted wool fabric created from a painting by Chef Akira’s Mom, Young-Hee Back, and are a focal point in the space. Along the wall to the semi-open kitchen are two dining counters - sushi and charcoal robata grill - where guests are drawn into the theater of chef Akira’s cooking seeing first-hand how many of the dishes are made, further adding to the elevated and immersive dining experience. personal touch to the restaurant.
“The main inspiration for Akira Back came from the area, Delray Beach,” says Vincent Celano, founder, and CEO of Celano Design Studio. “The sensation of walking on the pristine beaches, the glow of the sunset and the natural surroundings provided tones, sensations, and textures that were combined to bring forward a dynamic and inviting space that’s deeply rooted in the area but with an Akira Back twist.”
Michelin-star Chef Akira Back continues to expand his global portfolio with 18 restaurants currently open (including Paris, Dubai, Beverly Hills, San Diego, Seoul, Toronto, and beyond) and an additional twelve with scheduled opening dates through 2024.
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