Kapow! explodes onto South Florida dining and cocktail scene

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Previous posts: Kapow! in Boca cooks up noodles, cocktails, edgy artwork
Take 5: Artist Mike “Pooch” Pucciarelli

Review by Jim “Hurricane” Hayward

Like the restaurant’s colorful logo inspired by Japanese animation, everything about the new Boca Raton hotspot Kapow! leaps out and grabs your attention. Creativity is running amok at Kapow! in the cocktails and, especially, the food.

Kapow!

It starts with the cutting-edge concept and design of the warm yet elegantly cool space in the trendy Mizner Park dining and shopping district near downtown Boca. This is to be expected considering the ownership dream team of restaurant/nightlife moguls Rodney Mayo and Scott Frielich (The Dubliner, Tryst, Dada, Howley’s, Longboards, et al.) plus eco-conscious trendsetter Vaughan Lazar (Pizza Fusion).

But a cool concept is nothing without execution in the kitchen and behind the bar. Kapow! delivers on both counts, thanks in no small part to the fourth member of the ownership team, executive chef Roy Villacrusis – reigning two-time champion of the Grand Chef Throwdown at the Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival.

Pooch poses with his handiwork at Kapow!
Pooch poses with his handiwork at Kapow!

Kapow! noodle bar launched with a VIP tasting on Nov. 22 and a public opening the following day. The menu features a blend of unique “Asiatic” cuisine with a French Vietnamese flair, leaning heavily on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Add to this an eclectic selection of hand-crafted cocktails, and it’s a recipe for an exotic dining experience right up The Atomic Grog’s alley.

My wife and I finally got a chance to visit last Sunday, joined by artist Mike “Pooch” Pucciarelli and “Mrs. Pooch.” The dominant feature of the intimate 1,600-square-foot room is the 9-by-28-foot mural made from a Pooch painting that hangs in the back of the restaurant. The Pucciarellis had attended the VIP tasting, but this was their first visit for a sit-down dinner.

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Kapow! in Boca cooks up noodles, cocktails, edgy artwork

Review: Kapow! explodes onto South Florida dining and cocktail scene
Related: Take 5: Artist Mike “Pooch” Pucciarelli

Boca Raton’s trendy Mizner Park may never be the same. Restaurant/nightclub impresarios Rodney Mayo and Scott Frielich have joined forces with Pizza Fusion founder Vaughan Lazar for a fresh concept that combines tasty Asian street food with hand-crafted drinks and a social conscience.

Mayo and Frielich are known for such cutting-edge eateries as Dada, Tryst, The Dubliner, Howley’s, and Longboards. Lazar pioneered the concept of organic and eco-conscious pizza with Pizza Fusion.

Kapow! is inspired by New York City noodle bars featuring communal Asian comfort food with a gastro-style influence.
The menu will feature “fresh and sustainable” pan-Asian noodles and dim sum items plus craft cocktails in a edgy atmosphere. Much of that edge has been provided by South Florida artist Mike “Pooch” Pucciarelli, who painted an incredible mural that spans one entire wall.

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Take 5: Artist Mike “Pooch” Pucciarelli

Related: Pooch brings his surreal world to Howley’s with solo art show

Hurricane Hayward interviews Pooch at The Mai-Kai, July 2011. (Photo by Susan Hayward)
Hurricane Hayward interviews Pooch at The Mai-Kai, July 2011. (Photo by Susan Hayward)

Welcome to the first in a series of short interviews with noted personalities involved in events, music, art, cocktails and Tiki/retro culture. These aren’t intended to be all-encompassing, life-history-spanning interrogations. Rather, we’re aiming for a fun, quick take on the typical interview. Just five questions in roughly 5 minutes, hence the name Take 5.

Our first subject is a longtime friend and associate. He’s truly a renaissance man in the world of lowbrow culture. Just don’t try to pigeonhole him. He’s a fine artist, but he’s also a tattoo artist. He’s intelligent and soft spoken, but he’s also the quintessential heavy metal guitarist. His creativity seemingly has no limits. If you’re not familiar with Pooch’s work, we’ll let his official bio explain it best:

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Pooch brings his surreal world to Howley’s with solo art show

One of our favorite lowbrow artists, Mike “Pooch” Pucciarelli, will be hosting a showing of his recent prints next Tuesday (July 26) at one of our favorite retro restaurants – Howley’s diner in West Palm Beach.

View the Pooch

The show, titled “View the Pooch,” will run from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. and will also feature live music from South Florida blues guitarist J.P. Soars. Howley’s has a full bar featuring beer, wine and cocktails plus an extensive menu of diner classics.

Pooch is well-established as one of the most talented artists in South Florida and continues to branch out and establish himself throughout the greater art world. As owner/operator and chief artist at Altered State Tattoo in Lake Worth since 1996, he’s long been the go-to guy in South Florida if you’re looking for one-of-a-kind, eye-popping ink. Pooch’s award-winning tattoo work is known for its rich color and incredible detail. His work has been featured in many tattoo publications, such as Tattoo Society and International Tattoo Art.

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