Like attaching a fake mustache to a Halloween mask or cleverly changing your name from Obi-Wan Kenobi to Ben Kenobi, adding a new ingredient to something familiar can render it delightfully unrecognizable. Enjoy inventive eats with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of dinner and drinks at Dada Restaurant in Delray Beach.
At Dada Restaurant, scents of contemporary American entrees waft through the intimate interior of the restored 1924 building that encapsulates comfortable, thematic dining rooms. Dada's menu displays all-natural blue-crab cakes ($26) and butternut-squash ravioli, which mingles with vine-ripe tomatoes and artichoke hearts in a flavor-compounding pool of thyme-infused cream ($18.50). The restaurant's chef, Bruce Feingold, expertly braises boneless short ribs ($19) and coats salmon with a dulcet force field of habanero-maple glaze ($21) to simultaneously electrify and pacify taste buds. Friendly servers navigate gingham drapes, plush chairs, and hardwood floors in Dada's cozy interior, and a tree-shaded veranda hosts spoon brandishers outside the eatery. Diners can sip local or imported vino from an extensive wine list ($7+) as they drink in live music and amble beneath the glow of twinkling lights hung from a sprawling banyan tree or ahead of the lights flashing on the heels of their shoes.
Housed in a restored 1924 bungalow, Dada feels more like a chic friend's home than a typical restaurant. The owners use its different rooms to their advantage, offering a choice of spaces with different artwork and ambience. In one, you might eat a quiet, romantic dinner next to a fireplace; in another, there might be a reggae band playing well into the evening. Other performers take to the open mics in the basement, and outside voices are allowed to run free in a huge yard twinkling with lights. It all adds up to an experience that's quite different from the usual mold of South Florida nightlife, and the name Dada reflects that art movement's love for incongruous juxtapositions.
There's nothing absurd or surreal about two-time Delray Beach Garlic Festival champion chef Bruce Feingold's cuisine, however—it's simply creative, eclectic, and accessible. There is, for instance, a sandwich spilling over with seven different kinds of cheese—ranked as the second best grilled cheese in the area by the New Times (which has also given Dada high marks for its late-night eats and its bartenders). There are also more grown-up options, including lots of fresh fish. But for dessert, it's hard to resist the pure decadence of the Bunny, a sticky brownie with ice cream and bacon caramel.