The Ray hotel in downtown Delray Beach is becoming quite the culinary hot spot. In addition to Ember Grill and Rosewater Rooftop, The Ray has just opened Akira Back, a sleek Japanese-fusion restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Akira Back.
Originally from Korea, chef Back infuses that heritage into his cuisine, which also boasts global influences as diverse as French and Peruvian. The restaurant itself stands alone on the ground floor of The Ray, with a separate entrance that opens onto an urban-chic space by Celano Design Studio. A sushi bar anchors the intimate room, where curvy booths, hanging greenery, and sculptural elements establish a sexy mood.
The food is just as provocative. Many of the dishes are served on plates hand-painted by the chef’s mother, and highlights include Salmon Tiradito with grilled peach, yuja lemon, and cilantro oil, as well as the chef’s signature Jeju Domi with marinated masago, red sorrel, and chojang, a red chili pepper sauce that adds just the right amount of heat. Surprises dominate the sushi menu, from the Cow-Wow Roll with braised short rib and Asian slaw to the Pop-Rockin’ with spicy crab, cucumber, asparagus, and watermelon Pop Rocks (yes, Pop Rocks).
The restaurant also excels in its beverage program. Start the meal with a refreshing Geisha cocktail (Bombay Sapphire East, honeydew, cucumber, fresh basil, and togarashi syrup) before indulging in Akira Back’s personal sake—which is bound to be one of the smoothest you’ve ever sipped.