When Laura and Bobby Shapiro moved to Boca Raton at the end of last year, they left their two super successful New York City Flex Mussels restaurants in the hands of their daughter, Alexandra. But retiring wasn’t on the menu: In October the couple unveiled a new concept. West of the turnpike, at the corner of a small strip mall in the midst of country club condo land, they opened La Ferme, with a uniquely urban sensibility.
The restaurant is divided into two rooms. On the right, a long white marble bar illuminated by a crystal chandelier is the focal point. Above oversized vanilla leather booths, white crown moldings add elegance to cream walls, and gilded Rococo mirrors reflect the contrast of contemporary art pieces scattered throughout. If you prefer kitchen activity to bar antics as dinner theater, the main dining room is a better bet. A domed ceiling, Louis XIV lacquered chairs, fleur de lis carpeting, lace curtains and upholstered banquettes continue the luxe French theme and provide a cushy atmosphere from which to watch the toques at work.
Naturally, there are mollusks on the menu. Mussels come in four varieties – Thai with curry, lemongrass and coconut milk; Marinieres with white wine, butter and herbs; Provencal with tomato and herbs; and Parma, with parmesan, cream and Meyer lemon. Flex Mussels’ popular whole grilled branzino has also made the trip south, but while the skin is still crisp and the fish perfectly moist and flavorful, in this version head and bones have been removed. "Nobody in Boca wanted to deal with the bones,’’ Laura explains. "But it’s now our best seller.’’
French classics like foie gras terrine, escargots and cassoulet share a menu with variations on classics like lamb loin Wellington and short rib Bourguignon. Those looking for lighter fare can start with fresh oysters and move on to day boat scallops with fennel pollen dust and raisin caper vinaigrette, or simple roast chicken.
There is a find within a find at this unlikely location. Nestled in between the two rooms is a cozy circular area that houses one single velvet booth. It’s gently lit with a crystal chandelier, adorned with Donald Sultan limited edition prints, and can be curtained off for privacy. — Beth Landman
9101 Lakeridge Blvd.,
Boca Raton, FL