ADDRESS: 250 N. State Road 7, Suite #100, Royal Palm Beach, FL 33414
A few weekends ago, I was on the phone with my parents when the conversation took an interesting turn. “Did you know that your uncle Alex just bought a house in Florida?” Well, that was certainly a surprise. “It’s actually two hours south of where you live!” As it turns out, my uncle had closed on a house in the West Palm Beach area and asked if I would be up for visiting over the weekend. My cousin Stanley was also going to be flying into the area to see the new house, so he was certainly surprised to see me when my uncle and I rolled up to the airport’s arrivals area. It turned out to be a very nice and relaxing weekend that I could catch up with some family members I hadn’t seen in quite some time.
Stanley had been eating as a vegetarian for a little while, so when we were trying to look for a place to eat that night as we left the airport, we narrowed down the search a bit. Perusing through Yelp, we stumbled across Bolay, a place with some positive reviews and tasty-looking food photos. After a little bit of discussion, we decided to give it a shot, and ended up stumbling across a restaurant that far exceeded our expectations.
The main focus of each order was on the bowl (restaurant stylized as “bol”), where you can customize all the different ingredients that go into your meal. Two large boards were mounted on the high side of the wall next to the counter and caught our eye as we were walking up. One gave you a small tutorial about how to construct your order and the other detailed the vast array of options available to choose from. I certainly got vibes of the Chipotle “fast-casual” concept, where you’d progress down the counter as the restaurant staff helped you craft the perfect bowl of food.
Indecisive people, beware: you might want to take a look at the menu before heading out to the restaurant to narrow down what you want to get. I don’t normally consider myself an indecisive person, and I think I still spent five minutes standing up in front of the menu board, contemplating what to get.
There are five lists to progress through during the course of constructing your meal: bases, veggies, proteins, toppings, and sauces. All three of us ended up going for the “large bol,” which gave us the option of getting two bases, two veggies, two proteins, unlimited toppings, and one sauce. Get ready, because here comes the long, run-on sentence of my Bolay order: Peruvian quinoa and Moroccan basmati rice, topped with smoky cauliflower, balsamic mushrooms, Caribbean-spiced steak, and BBQ chicken, garnished with freshly chopped cilantro and spicy Thai peanut sauce. (That’s the same description I’ll be using in my Dish Spotlight, don’t you worry.) With eight major components stacked up in my bowl, I was certainly very anxious to give it the first bite.
Have you ever had a bite of food that took you aback by just how unexpectedly delicious it was? Well, this was one of those moments for me. All of the flavors just complemented each other so well that I kept diving into the bowl, excited for the next bite. The rice, quinoa, and mushrooms brought a great earthy element to the dish, while the cauliflower brought some light, smoky notes. The steak was cooked just how I liked it (medium-rare to medium), with some light Caribbean jerk seasoning that gave it a bit of punch. The chicken was grilled well, moist, and really locked in a lot of that BBQ flavor (probably from a marinade). The cilantro mixed with the spicy Thai sauce rounded out the whole bowl with a savory kick, coupled with some subtle peanut flavors. I tell you, it was so good that I probably could have devoured a whole second bowl with no effort at all.
What started as a search for a vegetarian-friendly restaurant ended up being one of the more flavorful meals that I’ve had in a little while. Even as the fast-casual restaurant concept is starting to get adopted more and more these days, Bolay does a great job of keeping things fresh by bringing out the best of the ingredients they use. All the flavors inside my food complimented each other seamlessly for a really complete and satisfying meal. Although I’m a little sad inside that there are no Bolay locations closer to Melbourne, I am certainly looking forward to my next opportunity at stopping in for some delicious food.
Let’s now take a look at the Bolay Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended combinations.
** Caribbean Spiced Steak & BBQ Chicken Large Bowl **
Peruvian quinoa and Moroccan basmati rice, topped with smoky cauliflower, balsamic mushrooms, Caribbean-spiced steak, and BBQ chicken, garnished with freshly chopped cilantro and spicy Thai peanut sauce.
And finally, here are my rankings for Bolay:
Food: 5 / 5
Bolay’s food certainly epitomizes the “fresh” and “bold” characteristics from its restaurant slogan. With such an eclectic array of options on the menu, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a combination you don’t like. I could eat here every day and be a happy camper.
Atmosphere: 4 / 5
The dining area of the place was a pretty good size, with a combination of tables and booths. Ample lighting provided a nice, bright environment, which are aided by the full-sized glass windows that comprise of the front of the restaurant. The open kitchen in the back also allowed for aromas from the grill to drift around the dining area.
Service: 4.5 / 5
The restaurant staff was very accommodating to our first time being at the restaurant and happily answered any questions we had as we were pondering what to get. Even after we finished our bowls and lingered at the table chatting, a staff member came by the table and asked if she could help dispose of our finished containers.
Price: 5 / 5
I really think that both the hearty amount of food coupled with the diverse flavor profiles that you could customize together offers a real bang for your buck. A large bowl normally runs you $10, but since I had upgraded to a “premium protein” (the Caribbean spiced steak), that added an extra $2. Absolutely did not regret that decision one bit.