This is the Wellingtonrestaurant we’re loving best at the moment. Next month, the snapshot might be different.
The Grille, Wellington
It’s not unusual to spot equestrians in their riding gear at this stylish Wellington spot. It’s a reminder that you’re dining in horse country. It’s also Clayton Carnes country. He’s The Grille’s talented chef and co-owner, the guy who recently won an episode of Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen”. Carnes is a meat-lover’s chef, but delicious steaks is not all he does superbly – his menu, tailored to a mainstream but sophisticated set, is nicely varied. He also makes some pretty incredible gelato.
The Grille:12300 Southshore Blvd., Wellington; 561-793-2110.
Here’s a current snapshot of Palm Beach restaurants we’re loving best at the moment. Next month, the snapshot might be different. This list includes only restaurants we have visited.
HMF at The Breakers, West Palm Beach
The Breakers’ snazzy lobby lounge, named after Breakers founder Henry Morrison Flagler, is a throw-back to the glam cocktail era – but it offers more than a nifty concept. The food is terrific. Pair the inspired bites with a classic cocktail or two and take in the vibe. For a little vintage drama, try the Baked Alaska.
HMF: In the lobby of The Breakers resort, 1 S. County Road, Palm Beach; 561-290-0104.
Buccan – Palm Beach
Whether you stop in for one of chef Clay Conley’s supreme small plates (he’s masterful with raw fish and seafood dishes) or settle in for a 14-ounce, wood-grilled prime New York strip steak and a night of people-watching, you’ve come to the best bistro in Palm Beach. Reservations are a must.
Buccan: 350 S. County Road, Palm Beach; 561-833-3450.
Meat Market, Palm Beach
This steakhouse in Palm Beach was voted ‘best restaurant’ in the Post’s 2015 Critic’s Choice Awards. Chef Sean Brasel has created a sleek temple of food and drink designed to wow diners beyond the carnivores. Yes, carnivores will find nirvana in a menu that offers a selection of reserve cuts, such as dramatically presented mega-steaks, all tender beneath a gorgeous char.
Chef Daniel Boulud’s Palm Beach eatery offers more than a stylish backdrop for dining — it offers some of the best food on the island. Executive chef Rick Mace is a true star, a culinary storyteller who knows how to capture the imagination and palate with food and presentation.
Café Boulud: 301 Australian Ave. (in The Brazilian Court hotel), Palm Beach; 561-655-6060.
PB Catch, Palm Beach
PB Catch not only has the best raw bar in town, where the fresh oyster selection is hard to beat, it has Chef de Cuisine Aaron Black’s fanciful “sea-cuterie” creations, as well as his beautifully prepared fish and seafood dishes. The interiors are serenely rich, the ambiance relaxed and the service polished.
Food lovers and vicarious travelers everywhere have reaped the benefits of McDonnell’s lushly photographed culinary inspirations as she put her American city spin on Irish country fare.
Today, as evidenced in her newly released book, “The Farmette Cookbook,” she has stacks of stellar recipes to show for her kitchen experiments that include boldly hybrid dishes such as Tater Tot Shepherd’s Pie. (For which she makes her own tots.)
Dear St. Patrick’s Day revelers, what goes better with a pint of Guinness than shepherd’s pie? Perhaps a better rhetorical question is: What goes better with a big, frosty mug of green beer than shepherd’s pie topped with crispy tots?
“Shepherd’s pie was one of my first forays into the basics of Irish country cooking… More recently, I began experimenting with ways to reinvent this classic pie. Inspired by craving a tater-tot hotdish (a Midwestern American casserole), I lined the top of my shepherd’s pie with homemade tots, and it was much more fun than standard mash.”
1 tablespoon sunflower or canola oil, plus more for frying
1 large onion, chopped
2 to 3 medium carrots, chopped
1 pound ground lamb
2 tablespoons tomato purée
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
2 cups lamb or beef stock
For the tots:
4 large russet potatoes, baked and cooled
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons fine salt
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then cook the onion and carrots for about 10 minutes, until softened. Turn up the heat, crumble in the lamb, and brown, pouring off any excess fat. Add the tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce; fry for a few more minutes until browned. Pour in the stock, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and cook for another 20 minutes to reduce the liquid.
Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and shred them on the large holes of a box grater. Transfer to a large bowl, sprinkle in the flour and salt, and gently mix until combined.
Scoop 1½ tablespoons of the potato mixture into a short cylinder, about 1½ inches long and ¾ inch wide. Press the mixture in tightly and then press the tots onto a baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining potato mixture.
Line a second baking sheet with paper towels; set aside. Pour ¼ inch of oil into a large frying pan and set over medium-high heat until hot, about 5 minutes. Fry the tots in batches of 8 to 10 pieces (do not overcrowd the pan), turning once, until light golden brown on both sides, about 1 to 2 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tots to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet, and season with salt. Repeat for all the tots.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Put the meat mixture into an ovenproof dish. Top with the tots to completely cover the meat. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tots are starting to turn golden brown and the mince is bubbling through at the edges. Serve with a salad of crisp garden greens.
Scullery Notes:You can freeze tater tots for future use: Let the fried tots cool, then transfer them to an airtight container or ziplock bag. Arrange them in a single layer in the container or bag and place them in the freezer. You can also just pile the shredded potato on top of the filling and bake as directed.
This recipe and the author intro are reprinted from “The Farmette Cookbook,” by Imen McDonnell, with the permission of Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications Inc., Boulder, Colo.
Here’s a current snapshot of West Palm Beach restaurants we’re loving best at the moment. Next month, the snapshot might be different. This list includes only restaurants we have visited.
Grato, West Palm Beach
The fab new pizzeria on South Dixie Highway has been packed every night since its debut. Evenings at Grato, opened by the powerhouse team behind Palm Beach’s wildly popular Buccan bistro, is marked by the glow of a wood-burning pizza oven. Grato’s non-fussy menu lists crostini, pizza, pasta, salad and roasted meats.
Grato: 1901 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-404-1334.
La Sirena, West Palm Beach
Chef and restaurateur Marcello Fiorentino has set the standard in fine Italian dining here. His fresh-made dishes and service are impeccable. His wine list is stellar as well, as underscored by “Wine Spectator,” which bestowed its Grand Award on La Sirena last year. This place of understated elegance is a must for any local who loves excellently prepared, authentic Italian food.
Chef Matthew Byrne creates refined takes on comfort classics while his wife/partner, Aliza Bryne, keeps a gracious pace in the front of the house. The menu is seasonally inspired and beautifully executed. In addition to the small main dining room, there’s a lounge area as well as a private dining room to accommodate larger parties. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Kitchen: 319 Belvedere Road, #2, West Palm Beach; 561-249-2281.
Okeechobee Steakhouse, West Palm Beach
Expect no foodie lingo here, no “artisan” this or “hand-crafted” that, no menus tripped up in adjectives. But you will find a mighty fine steak. And you will find stellar service, the kind of service that brings you back to the warm, welcoming time capsule that is Okeechobee Steakhouse.
There’s a good reason why Chef Julien Gremaud’s hip, sunny eatery is a busy spot at night: His small plates and shareable selections are both refined and decadent. But why limit your visit to this downtown West Palm eatery to nighttime when it serves one of the best weekend brunches in the county? Gremaud’s eggs Benedict dishes are sinful, as are his gently scrambled eggs dusted with piment d’Espelette, and his crab-avocado toast topped with an oozy egg. And if you’re lucky, that day’s special menu will include his outstanding rendition of shrimp and grits. The Jerez-spiked shrimp alone are worth the price of admission.
Voted the ‘best new restaurant’ in the Post’s 2015 Critic’s Choice Awards, Queen of Sheeba is South Florida’s only Ethiopian restaurant. The Ethiopian-born restaurant owner and cook, Lojo Washington, presents the foods of her native land and the lightly sour injera bread, which serves as a scoop for stewed dishes and veggies she serves.
It’s easy to see why Pistache has become a favorite on finicky Clematis Street: French favorites offered with a sophisticated touch, warm hospitality, lovely setting. The bistro never fails to impress. Come for lunch, dinner, cocktails or one of the most pleasant, a la carte Sunday brunches in central county.
Pistache: 101 N. Clematis St., #115, West Palm Beach; 561-833-5090.
This warm “pie” is actually made of chocolate cake that’s layered with Chantilly cream and topped with hot fudge.
HMF at The Breakers: 1 S. County Road, Palm Beach; 561-655-6611; HMFPalmBeach.com
4. Key Lime Pie at Madisons
Post reviewer Carlos Frias raved about this American pie earlier this year: “The buttery filling is velvety smooth, subtle, without the tartness to pucker your face … Cut down deep enough through the two-inch-thick pie to reach a crust made of homemade graham crackers and crushed caramelized pecans. The crust alone could be served as a menu item. The chef tops that perfect crust with homemade whipped cream and carefully drizzles it with a lime coulis, a tangy sauce made from pureed and strained key limes.”
Madisons New York Grill & Bar: 2006 NW Executive Center Circle, Boca Raton; 561-994-0808
This our weekly look back at some of our recommended dining experiences:
With a farmhouse-meets-glam setting, lively ambiance and delicious grub, The Cooper is decidedly (still) the new hot spot on PGA Boulevard’s dining corridor in Palm Beach Gardens.
The concept is stylized – and beautifully so. But there’s more than “farm-to-table” concept going on here. The menu is friendly to all palates, appetites and food preferences, as The Cooper — which serves lunch, dinner and a popular Sunday brunch — offers snacks, small plates and heftier portions.
Thanks to The Cooper’s executive chef, Adam Brown, the dishes are not simply a composition of ingredients, but a celebration of them. A seasonal veggie plate takes on a sumptuous dimension as the “Farmer’s Market Vegetable Palette.” Brown’s flavor-forward style shines through in the simplest of condiments, such as the bright and herby salsa verde that accompanies The Cooper’s steaks.
Going out for breakfast? We have picked some of the best syrupy, sweet yummy cakes around!
Here’s our list of the best pancakes in the county:
Almond Joy PancakesatPete’s Place. The Greenacres landmark loads the batter with chocolate chips, then tops the finished ‘cakes with more choco chips, chocolate syrup, slivered almonds and coconuts. It’s like starting your day with a triple-layer cake. 6774 Forest Hill Blvd., Greenacres, 561-641-6543
Funky Monkey Panky-DoosatThe Nook. The friendly staff at this popular eatery challenges you to say “Panky-Doo” without smiling. For the Funky Monkey version, the cooks call upon the wonders of chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and bananas. The result: Breakfast magic.223 Center St., Jupiter, 561-745-7477
Hazelnut UEPsatJuno Beach Cafe. Working from their 54-year-old recipe for Uncle Eddie’s Pancakes, the Juno Beach Cafe dolls up their trademark ‘cakes with Nutella, sliced strawberries, powdered sugar, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. How do you spell “yum”? “UEP.”13967 U.S. 1, Juno Beach, 561-622-1533
Banana Nut CakesatBenny’s on the Beach. Pecans, almonds and walnuts hijack these flapjacks, which hide under even more chopped nuts and sliced bananas. All those nuts mean this plate contains at least one serving of protein, right? Nod in agreement, please.Lake Worth Pier, 10 S. Ocean Blvd., Lake Worth, 561-582-9001
Blueberry Pancakesat The Green Owl. There are some dishes that linger in your mind years after you cleaned your plate. The Green Owl’s satisfying standard-issue pancakes are one of those. Nothing fancy. Just fantastic fare in a funky, 33-year-old diner.330 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach, 561-272-7766.
Wait staff said the new Jupiter location should be open in about a week.
There are a couple of questions for long-time customers of the old location:
What happens to the Pabst Blue Ribbon ceiling mural? It apparently won’t fit in the industrial-style ceiling of the new location, but wait staff said Saturday that it might end up in another Park Avenue location.
And here’s hoping they don’t forget the Elvis sign: