Cornell Cafe, 4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach, Florida 33446
In keeping with this week’s “Japanese Dreams” theme, I was more than delighted to feature Cornell Cafe, Morikami’s on-property restaurant. After a long day of meandering around the garden grounds, soaking up the beautiful scenery and hot summer sun, the open-air eatery on the terraces was a welcoming place to rest in the shade and enjoy some incredibly fresh sushi. By the way, this isn’t just any old cafe. It complements the museum with its elegant simplicity.
Beating the South Florida heat with some ice cold water is a given, but enjoying a refreshingly crisp adult beverage isn’t so bad, either. I started my late afternoon lunch with a straightforward Cold Sake, but it was the Unfiltered Nigori that really got my goat (in a good way.) It was rich, creamy and surprisingly sweet.
After demolishing a House Salad (I was starving after an early morning blog shoot,) I opted for two starters: “Crab Cake and Bang Bang Shrimp” (homemade crab cakes, lightly battered shrimp alongside Chef Fu’s special citrus sauce) and “Red Shrimp & Golden Tofu” (lightly fried shrimp and tofu in a sweet and tangy, tomato-based sauce.) Both dishes were a solid balance of my two favorite tastes: sweet and savory. Not only that, they were extremely easy on the eyes. For the Cornell Cafe, presentation is everything.
Which is why I opted for the beautiful Sushi Sashimi Bento Box, a wonderful mix of Pacific yellowtail, shrimp, salmon, tuna and 6 pieces of the chef’s choice of rolls. I’m super picky when it comes to sushi/sashimi and the box didn’t disappoint. It was extremely fresh and delicious. I saved room for dessert, too, after hearing how marvelous the “Manju (Mochi) Ice Cream” was. I had two bonbons (green tea and red bean) which were enveloped in rice paste. They were so smooth, they melted like butter in my mouth (cue the angels singing here.)
My experience at Cornell Cafe inside the grounds of the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens wasn’t just relaxing, it was reinvigorating. After lunch, I had an extra burst of energy and took in some more sights and sounds of the sixteen acre lush greenery. If you haven’t been able to visit the Gardens yourself, it’s definitely a South Florida must-see, where you can take time to enjoy nature’s grandeur and all the gorgeous things that go along with it. That’s why it’s one of my favorite things.
Morikami is located in the quaint coastal city of Delray Beach, which is known for its Downtown Arts District, boasting a plethora of unique galleries and pretty little boutiques. The Japanese Gardens are, of course, a big attraction as well, located just off Jog Road, north of Yamato Road and south of Linton Boulevard. There’s always plenty of parking when you arrive and the grounds never seem overly crowded.
Tuesday through Sunday 10am-5pm, Closed Mondays & major holidays.
Please note: Dining at the Cornell Cafe is a benefit of Morikami Membership. Non-members must pay museum admission to enjoy the restaurant.
Adult admission: $15
Kids (6-17) admission: $9
Kids (under 6) admission: Free
Editor: Matthew Auerbach
Photographer: James Woodley
Writer: Shireen Sandoval
Stylist: Jackie Kay