A square meal (and deal) at Square One restaurant in Boca Raton

We are honored to host local foodies to enjoy our new menu items. Sun Sentinel Columist Michael Mayo was one of the first restaurant reviewers we had after we opened, and we are proud to report that he enjoyed our offerings.

Mayo believes that it is the natural progression of talented restaurant workers where you spend years working for someone else learning the business and honing your craft, then branch out to become your own boss. And we agree!

Co-owners Jon Greening and Eric Clark, longtime friends and veterans of Rapoport’s Restaurant Group, followed the blueprint to a promising degree with the opening of their Square One American Restaurant & Bar in Boca Raton in February 2018.

“The food and service are good, the atmosphere is comfortable and sophisticated without being stuffy, and although everything here is also being done elsewhere — craft cocktails; charcuterie boards; comfort foods such as burgers, pizzas and housemade pastas — little goes amiss. I would describe it as a solid place, akin to Houston’s, at slightly lower prices. With happy-hour specials and an ongoing three-course, $29 dinner promotion, Square One is a place to get a square meal for a square deal” Mayo says.

The menu also features steaks and chops, including an 18-ounce, dry-aged, bone-in rib-eye with loaded baked potato.

“Upscale casual at an affordable price point,” Clark says.

“Clark, who runs the front of the house, and Greening, who oversees the kitchen, met working at Deck 84 in Delray Beach, where Clark was the general manager and Greening rose to executive chef. When Brewzzi went out of business after 20 years in Boca Raton, the pair seized the opportunity. Greening’s Midwestern roots show in straight-up preparations of grilled steaks and fish. He uses quality ingredients from good purveyors, including meat and cheese from Sunshine Provisions of Hallandale Beach and locally grown produce.

Caesar salad (included with the $29 three-course dinner) had the proper punch of anchovy in the dressing. Tomato bisque (also included in the special dinner) was creamy and pleasing, served with two small triangles of grilled cheese. Prince Edward Island mussels ($14) were bathed in tomato, garlic and white wine broth with caramelized fennel and onions, served with two hunks of grilled bread from Old School Bakery in Delray Beach. The 12-ounce, dry-aged New York strip steak ($35) was flavorful and cooked mostly to the ordered medium-rare served with a roasted bulb of garlic.

Pizza dough and pastas are made in-house from Caputo flour imported from Italy. Greening is rightly proud of his pastas, with 15 varieties made in the kitchen. We didn’t try the pappardelle with braised-beef ragu (a big seller), but the texture of the long, Twizzler-like recco pasta (with a narrow hole in the center) was perfect. The dish ($24) featured sausage, shrimp, mussels and broccolini (a play on sausage with broccoli rabe), which all worked, but the creamy sauce was a bit heavy for my liking, masking some of the proteins.

The best dessert of all was a charcuterie board ($14) that the cheese lover in our group insisted on. By then, I did not need cured meats and a mound of mixed olives, but they all tasted delicious. Even better were the cheeses from Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont, including a creamy Bayley Hazen Blue and tomme-style Oma. Served with Florida honey and grilled bread, the platter put a rectangular finish on a square meal,” Mayo says.

The entire Square One team looks forward to providing the Boca Raton community with delicious and innovative menu items that are approachable and enjoyable.

Cuisine: American

Cost: Moderate to expensive. Salads, soups and appetizers cost $4-$22, pizzas and burgers $13-$17, entrees $22-$42, sides $5-$7, desserts $5-$7. Three-course dinner special costs $29.

Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday

Reservations: Accepted

Credit Cards: All major

Bar: Full liquor with craft cocktails, wine and beer. Early and late happy hours feature half-priced drinks.

Noise level: Conversational, louder when crowded. Live music some nights after 9:30 p.m.

Wheelchair access: Ground level

Parking: Free lot

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