"Romance on the Road"
PICK "NICK'S" FOR ROMANCE
Nick's Fishmarket of Hawaii
Boca Raton, Florida
Over the holidays, we were in Florida with Dennis's family. It's great to spend time with them, but after three days, it was either committing hari-kari by jumping off the 10 th floor balcony, or sneaking off someplace to be on our own.
So I called my girlfriend who lives in Boca Raton and asked her for a recommendation. When she heard I was doing a column, "Romance on the Road"- she screamed excitedly, "If you're writing about romantic restaurants, you MUST go to Nick's. You have to! It's the most romantic place in Boca."
That was all I needed to hear. I promptly called and made a reservation. While the name, "Nick's Fishmarket" doesn't necessarily evoke an image of romance, I love to be surprised. And Nick's Fishmarket of Hawaii is chock full of them.
Dennis and I parked the car on Palmetto Park Road, next to a nondescript office building. Hmmmm... I was still skeptical about its being "romantic." It felt like we were going to the bank. But as soon as we walked through the front door, my skepticism vanished, and I surrendered to the magical atmosphere and divine ambiance that is Nick's Fishmarket in Boca Raton!
The décor has a modern Hawaiian flavor. A long bar accentuated by a lighted pineapple fills the center of the room, with grass-covered "huts" for dining around the sides.
We were immediately greeted by a host who walked us over to our own special thatched hut - in a dimly lit corner. I loved it! The owner, Nick Nickolas, came by to say hello. What a lovely and charming man he is!
We also had a terrific waiter who was helpful and gracious, but the service and attention didn't stop there. One of the special things about Nick's is the congenial service by all his staff, which consists of a four-man team for each table.
They are all extremely attentive with an air of I'm-happy-to-be-here-for-you. At Nick's, all of the wait staff seem to take great enjoyment and pride in what they do. Interestingly, our waiter replaced our white linen napkins with black ones, when we sat down. Why? I wondered. Since we were wearing black, they didn't want us to get lint from the white napkins on our clothes!
After ordering the wine, we looked at the menu. And wow, what a unique selection from Italian and French dishes, to Asian delicacies and Greek specialties, with a huge assortment of fresh seafood, as well. We sipped our wine and enjoyed the complimentary appetizer of smoked marlin with sesame crackers, while perusing our dinner choices.
The menu has a tempting array of appetizers that includes escargots, spring rolls, and sautéed calamari; but a simple name doesn't convey the complexity of each of these tantalizing dishes. For example, Dennis would never ordinarily order spring rolls (thinking Chinese take-out), but after the waiter described it, he couldn't resist. And he wasn't disappointed. I ordered Calamari Sorento with diced tomato, Parmesan cheese, and a demi-glaze.
For entrees, we decided on the Chilean Sea Bass Mirin, and the special lobster dish of the night. We had no idea how fantastic—and fantastically large—it would be! When they brought out the plate, we swooned! The lobster was a four-pounder, baked to moist and succulent perfection with a thick crab cake covering.
The sea bass was equally mouth-watering in its soy, miso and sweet mirin (Japanese wine) glaze, accompanied by sticky rice and vegetables. It was light, flaky, and delectable.
We always share our dishes, so Dennis started with the sea bass, and I began with the lobster. Very soon we switched plates. I took my time with the sea bass, savoring every bite, while Dennis attacked the lobster. He is a true pro at cracking each claw, leg, and back, and sucking out every last morsel.
We topped off our dinner with Nick's Bananas Foster, a sweet and special ending to a scrumptious meal. Unable to finish the dish, we sat back, happy and full. What's more romantic than that!
When we learned that Nick's had only been open about two and a half months, we couldn't believe it. It was soooo good, and soooo delicious, and the staff was sooo incredible. How could it be soooo new? Aha! Then we found out how!
The owner, Nick Nickolas, previously ran his restaurant at the Boca Raton Resort and Club for 18 years. So although this location is new, Nick has been a consummate restaurateur for decades. And it shows.
Nick is a warm, cordial host with an eye to pleasing his guests. There are photos on the wall of the many celebrities that have dined at his restaurants over the years. He is used to having well known diners—but then, he treats all his guests like they are celebrities.
Nick's Fishmarket is a romantic spot, complemented by an excellent kitchen and responsive staff. And on Friday and Saturday nights, there's dancing, too. So next time you're near Boca Raton, Florida, take a break from your relatives, grab your honey, and go Hawaiian!
Nick's Fishmarket of Hawaii
Written by Marilyn Anderson and Dennis Lanning