West Palm Beach mimosa-seekers, there’s a hot new brunch in town. The Regional Kitchen quietly expanded its weekend hours recently to include an a la carte, big-city brunch.
Unlike some unruly, dancing-on-tables brunches, this is a civilized, soulful affair. Chef Lindsay Autry has created a menu that’s just large enough and eclectic enough to satisfy most midmorning appetites.
On the savory side, there’s loaded mill grits with cheddar, scallions, bacon and roasted jalapeños ($11; add poached egg for $2, barbecue shrimp for $7), country-style sausage ($11), steak and eggs ($18), fried chicken thighs ($9), and broccoli and cheese frittata ($14).
On the sweet side, there’s cornmeal flapjacks with bourbon-blueberry jam ($12), and buttermilk waffle with spiced apple butter ($12). Rounding out your options, there are smaller bites (roasted tomato pie, $11), salads, sandwiches, entrées (herb roasted Scottish salmon, $22), and homey side dishes (table-side pimento cheese, $11).
Brunch-y drinks include classic mimosas, daily special mimosas ($11 glass, $30 pitcher), Frosé (a spiked, slushy rosé cocktail, $12 each) and The Regional Bloody (a well-garnished Bloody Mary, $11 each).
Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Reservations are suggested at 561-557-6460.
Move over, Clematis Street. The hottest new thoroughfare near downtown West Palm Beach is South Dixie Highway, from Flamingo Park to just past Antique Row.
This is where a string of chef-driven, indie restaurants have opened in the past three years, adding eclectic notes to the street. They join a few of the city’s iconic restaurants in what is now dubbed the Dixie Dining Corridor.
The power duo behind Table 26, Eddie Schmidt and Ozzie Medeiros, were pioneers of sorts on The Corridor. They opened the nautically themed place in the summer of 2012 and the valet attendants have been busy ever since.
Best reason to go: The place is lovely. It makes any night feel like a special night on the town.
Coming next year:
Patina – The husband-wife duo behind Kitchen plan an upscale spot serving Greek and Israeli dishes. Expected to open in fall 2017 at 1817 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach
This local trattoria has earned a following by offering outstanding brick-oven pizza, house-smoked meats and homemade pasta in an accessible setting with just the right amount of vibe. Success is not an alien concept to the powerhouse team behind Grato: Chef Clay Conley and his Buccan Palm Beach partners. In August, Conley brought in a new executive chef, a rising star named Jimmy Strine, former executive sous chef at Café Boulud Palm Beach. Strine has notched up Grato’s smoked-meat game and introduced some exquisite seasonal dishes that showcase his balance of refined and rustic.
Best reason to go: There’s handmade pasta for lunch; a late afternoon drink at the bar can easily segue to dinner; Sunday brunch is sublime.
Chef Matthew Byrne once served as personal chef to golf superstar Tiger Woods. At Kitchen, the restaurant he opened with wife Aliza Byrne in the fall of 2013, he serves as personal chef to a loyal crowd that includes many a visiting celeb. This is how the couple like to describe their intimate and gradually expanding restaurant: It’s like a dinner party.
Best reason to go: Chef Matthew’s simply prepared yet sumptuous dishes.
Not so new, but noteworthy:
City Diner – A retro diner that’s always hopping, at 3400 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-659-6776
Chef Clay Carnesventured east from a spacious Wellington restaurant to open a tiny, neo-Andean spot. He makes his own tortillas and fresh ceviche, and roasts and smokes his own meats. There’s not much seating, but there is a sweet patio out back.
Best reason to go: Those tortillas, they’re made of organic corn grown in Alachua County.
Not so new, but noteworthy:
Belle & Maxwell’s – Quaint café that’s popular at lunch, at 3700 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-832-4449
Rhythm Café – Neighborhood favorite, serves eclectic mix of bites and main plates, at 3800 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-833-3406
Dixie Grill & Bar – Offers large selection of excellent craft beers and pub fare, at 5101 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-586-3189
Howley’s – A diner that burns the wee-hour oil (so to speak), serving comfort grub, at 4700 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-833-5691
She’s Cuban-American; he’s Dominican. Together, husband-wife duo Monica and Enmanuel Nolasco have created a cozy spot for authentic island cooking and weekend get-downs.
Best reason to go: The lunch buffet is unbeatable. Friday night music and dancing kicks off the weekend with hot rhythms.
Not so new, but noteworthy:
Marcello’s La Sirena – World-class Italian cuisine, a wine lover’s destination restaurant and multiple winner of Wine Spectator’s coveted Grand Award, at 6316 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-585-3128
Havana – This authentic Cuban restaurant just got an exterior makeover, at 6801 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-547-9799
Don Ramon Restaurante Cubano – Cuban classics served with a smile, at 7101 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-547-8704
7434 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-366-7741
This daylight spot is no ordinary sandwich shop. Chef Michael Hackman and his wife/partner Melanie approach their menu with fresh, seasonal ingredients and a lot of soul. “We love to make stuff from scratch here,” says Chef Michael, who bakes the shop’s breads daily. He uses the fresh loaves – sourdough, seven grain, semolina, and more – in Aioli’s sandwiches. The shop also sells the loaves retail.
Best reason to go: After your scrumptious lunch, you can take one of Chef Michael’s prepared dinners to go. Multitasking!
Buckle up, Boca. There’s a new cheesecake in town – and we’re not talking about Junior’s.
Amazing as it is, Junior’s fluffy, cake-crust, New York cheesecake will meet its match Tuesday, Dec. 6. That’s when Rappy’s Deli opens at Boca Raton’s new Park Place plaza.
We had a taste of the dessert at a recent preview lunch. Restaurateur Burt Rapoport, who created the Rappy’s concept as a tribute to his late grandfather’s New York Jewish deli, offered the cheesecake without much commentary at the end of a multi-dish lunch.
The cheesecake recipe was brought to Rapoport’s, his grandfather’s lower east Manhattan deli, by a Swedish pastry chef. It was the first cheesecake served in New York, says Rapoport, who grew up in an apartment above that long-closed deli.
The cheesecake: a fluffy, cream-cheese intense filling atop a thin cake crust. It’s divine stuff.
Rapoport is not making a big deal of it. “When something’s good, people will find it,” he says.
The rest of the menu is just as rooted in the New York deli concept, but presented with a modern spin. A Reuben is turned into a spring roll for Rappy’s Pastrami Spring Roll appetizer, which is stuffed with caraway-scented braised cabbage, Gruyere and Thousand Island dressing. Don’t fret, traditionalists, there’s a classic Reuben as well.
As delicious as the cheesecake: Rappy’s classic pastrami, to be made in-house. The meat is brined, smoked over a mix of hardwood, then steamed. The result is layer upon layer of flavor, a stack of pastrami that needs only a couple slices of rye bread and a smear of coarse-grain mustard. There are healthy offerings: chicken soup, health slaw, veggies.
The menu is extensive, with offerings for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner: caviar, shareable “noshes,” soups, entrée salads, large plates, blintzes and latkes, a mountain of hot/cold sandwich options, dogs and wursts (hello, pastrami-wrapped dog!), burgers and melts, Reubens and Rachels, “Bubby’s chicken in a pot,” shakes and desserts, plus a full bar.
Rappy’s will first open for lunch and dinner next Tuesday. Brunch begins on Saturday, Dec. 10. Breakfast will be served starting Monday, Dec. 12.
Rappy’s: Opens Tuesday, Dec. 6 at Park Place plaza, 5560 N. Military Tr., Boca Raton; RappysDeli.com
The family-owned restaurant, which opened in March 2013 in a plaza near the Mall at Wellington Green, specialized in hearty steaks cooked in an 1800-degree broiler. The big daddy on the menu: Jordan’s bone-in cowboy steak ($59), weighing from 18 ounces to 2 pounds. A heap of matchstick French fries completed the feast.
Jordan’s owners, Jordan and Ivette Naftal, announced the closing in a special email to regular customers:
“Big news. We would like to thank our loyal guests for a wonderful four years!” said the email. “Stay tuned for a future announcement letting you know where we land.”
That “next adventure” could come “very soon,” the owners suggested on the restaurant’s Facebook page last weekend.
Jordan Naftal, a former Baltimore-area restaurateur, opened the steakhouse in the space Pangea had operated.
On Sunday, the Naftals’ son, Jake Naftal, posted a message of his own on Facebook:
“I have adored being a part of this place, a part of your lives, and a participant in all the splendorous evenings we provided here. I’ve made many friends out of you, and learned so much… We love making food, we love making you smile, and you make us smile, too. See you at the next cookout.”
CityPlace will welcome its fourth new restaurant this year when Bowery Palm Beach makes its debut in the former BB King’s/ Lafayette’s space next week.
Bowery, which combines an upmarket seafood restaurant and live music club, opens Thursday, Dec. 8.
The menu describes dishes with some refinement: snapper panzanella (bread salad) with fried capers and tomato confit, black cod served with olive oil poached potatoes and watercress pesto, octopus with Meyer lemon gel and smoked potatoes.
Starters include steamed bao (buns) stuffed with a variety of fillings, including fried gator tail with pickled jalapeño. The dessert menu includes a black sesame ice cream sundae with kiwi, mocha, passion fruit and caramel. Specialty cocktails include the “Bowery Red,” vodka mixed with Giffard grapefruit syrup, Aperol and fresh lime juice.
Cirigliano and Kefales have brought on Chef Anthony “Theo” Theocaropoulos to design the menu and head the kitchen.
A native New Yorker, Theocaropoulos is a graduate of the now-defunct Lincoln Culinary Institute. His career includes stints at Chef Michael White’s Ai Fiori and Mario Batali’s Eataly New York La Pizza & La Pasta.
Bowery Palm Beach will be the fifth restaurant opening at West Palm’s centerpiece dining and entertainment plaza in the past year, following the opening of The Regional Kitchen, City Tap House, Brother Jimmy’s BBQ and Cabo Flats (which opened in December 2015).
The sparkling view and delicious starter gave me the feeling that this place would be a good one. Then the server felt the need to overshare. That was moments after he dropped an F-bomb at me – in a good way, I suppose. He used it as an adverb to qualify the word “amazing,” which he used to describe the steaks.
When my dining companion arrived, I brought her up to speed.
“Our server says the steaks are ‘f#*% amazing.’ He’s also ‘f#*% hungover.’”
He was charming in the way your party friend from college is charming. But, yes, he was clueless. When I asked about the terrific, smooth and smoky red dipping sauce served alongside Che’s hearty, overstuffed empanada, he said it was a classic Argentinian chimichurri.
It was a delicious twist on the classic condiment, but for the most part, chimichurri is green, a hand-minced garlic, herb and oil sauce. The server told us chimi is always red in Argentina and green in Brazil. Charming, but mistaken.
Condiment theories aside, this was a tasty empanada (two for $9), its crispy fried crust encasing chopped premium beef studded with chopped olives, peppers and egg. And we couldn’t get enough of that smoky red sauce. It was served with a lightly dressed tangle of arugula and sliced baby tomatoes.
This empanada shares the menu with other starters that reflect Che’s South American and Iberian roots. The concept was dreamed up in Buenos Aires and brought to being in Spain by sibling restaurateurs Daniela and Martin Sujoy. Some 15 years later, they have a “Che” family of 15 related restaurants in Spain.
The Spanish influence on Che (a Rio de la Plata expression which can mean “hey!” or “bro,” among other things) declares itself in a Galician style octopus appetizer ($11), a gazpacho starter ($8), a plate of cured Iberico meats and cheeses ($15) and a classic seafood paella ($48 for two).
The Argentine inspiration is told in classics such as morcilla (blood sausage, $9), provoleta (grilled provolone, $12) and a heap of grilled steaks, ranging from $29 for brochettes to $64 for a 24-ounce butterflied South American NY strip. We landed somewhere near the middle, ordering the “George V” filet steak ($43), an 8-ounce prime South American tenderloin served with caramelized onions and veggies in a red wine glaze, with a side of potato gratin.
To my eyes, 8 ounces never seemed as robust. This filet towered above the veggie sauté. It was large enough to share. It was not as buttery as one might expect from a filet cut, but the steak was tender, a true medium-rare beneath a smoky char.
In the non-beef department, the grilled Pacific King Salmon ($30) did not disappoint. It was prepared medium-rare as well, revealing a moist interior. The salmon is served with nicely grilled asparagus and a black trumpet mushroom risotto that proved better in flavor than in texture. I prefer a creamy, more loose risotto. This one had the consistency of clumpy rice pudding.
All this in a menu that also includes wood-fired flat breads ($12). The menu’s range makes this an ideal waterfront spot. You don’t want a steak? Have a fig-blue cheese flat bread and a glass of wine. The setting is outstanding.
The waterfront Delray Beach location, which inhabits the former Hudson at Waterway East property, is the Sujoy family’s first U.S. location. And it is a beauty, with crisp, white walls and chairs, velvety teal booths and banquettes and simple wooden deck touches. Che infused light and just the right amount of teal blue into a dim space.
Now those shimmery waters outside find their reflection in the restaurant’s furnishings. The view, it seems, begins inside and flows outward. The minds behind the restaurant’s décor maximized the visual gifts of the place.
What a lucky thing for local lovers of Argentinian and Spanish foods: a place where the empanada comes with one of the best views in South Florida.
You come for the sun, the sea and the right to wear shorts in January, dear Northerner. But no amount of South Florida stone crabs can fix your cravings for the foods of “home,” wherever in the frozen tundra that may be.
This one’s for you: our local picks for tastes of New York, New Jersey, New England, Maryland, Philadelphia and Montreal.
Did we leave out your go-to favorite? Let us know in the comments section!
This “Sixth Borough” outpost of the Brooklyn favorite serves cheesecake that dreams are made of. So, yes, you come to Junior’s Restaurant for the cheesecake. But first you gorge on a Reuben, maybe some potato pancakes and matzo ball soup. The menu is extensive.
This popular deli brings Northern soul to Italian favorites. Mike and Mia Manzo operate the 21-year-old, family-owned spot. Mike makes killer red sauce every morning. It jazzes up his homemade lasagna, the meatballs and other dishes. As for sandwiches, Manzo’s big seller is the chicken salad sub – they sell almost 200 pounds of chicken salad a week.
Consider this your south county, oceanfront spot for New England clam chowder, lobster bisque, Ipswich steamers, New England clambake and Maine lobster. To wash it down, there’s a specialty cocktail named The Patriot, of course. Plus, there are more than 30 TVs to watch the big game.
What began as a green market kiosk selling creamy clam chowder and lobster rolls evolved into a popular Jupiter restaurant. The warm lobster roll stuffed with lobster chunks that have been sautéed in butter and sherry is particularly delicious, as is the chowder. The seafood-centric menu is extensive enough to keep you coming back. Chances are, however, you’ll order your favorites again and again.
This Boca Raton shop bakes a variety of doughy Philly-style pretzels, from twists to pretzel dogs to pretzel sandwiches, including a pork roll and cheese-stuffed sandwich. Phlorida Pretzel also offers a good mix of party trays that are perfect for tailgating. (And, yes, this is Eagles territory.)
This restaurant not only bills itself as a Maryland crab house, the menu delivers on that promise with Maryland crab soup, Maryland-style crabs steamed in beer, vinegar and spices and Chesapeake references.
Pure Baltimore inspiration built this spot, and a love of crabs keeps it going. The cream of crab soup at True carries hints of sherry, shallots and Old Bay. The True Blue sandwich layers a Maryland-style crab cake, lettuce and tomato on a Kaiser roll. There’s a crab dip that’s topped with cheddar and the Homesick Soup with plenty of Old Bay love.
Poutine Dog Café
17 S. J Street, Lake Worth; 561-766-2281
What’s so Montreal about fries, gravy and cheese curds? Everything. And this café serves it in abundance and with plenty of bling. There are at least nine ways to top your poutine here.
As for where you’ll find it — not in Whole Foods ‘Fresh Picks.’ Acai can’t be bought in its true form, a berry from palm trees that grow in the Amazon rain forest in Central and South America. When an acai berry is picked, it’s taken to a lab, processed, sometimes frozen, and then sent to the United States.
Why is it healthy af?
That’s simple. Acai berries are high in fiber and antioxidants which are known to help balance cholesterol levels.
If you’re anything like me, of course you care about long-term health benefits, but what really makes you happy is knowing what foods and drinks are good for your body almost instantly. Acai does that. Its energy boost is just what you need to get going in the morning.
Acai bowls and all their glory… kind of.
The good news is that acai bowls are packed with protein. Shops and cafes add granola, seeds and butters to almost every bowl. Most are topped with berries other than acai like blueberries and strawberries which makes them “a nutrition powerhouse,” said Sandy Livingston, a registered nutrition and licensed nutritionist in Palm Beach County.
The bad news? Some acai bowls are high in sugar and sodium content.
I’ll put it like this: Sambazon, Acai Roots and Tambor are three popular brands of acai that are shipped to the U.S. and used in nutrition-conscious businesses like Jaya Nutrition in Juno Beach and Celis and The Bee in West Palm Beach. Half a cup of Acai Roots acai sorbet in a bowl has about 65 mg of sodium and 16 grams of sugar. That doesn’t include the sugars your body will consume from the added layers of almond/peanut butter or yummy honey that top a standard acai bowl.
That’s okay. Me too. Between you and me, acai bowls make up 50 percent of my “eating out” budget! I love them all, from the healthier bowls (low in sugar content and 100% organic) served at Jaya Nutrition bar to the sugar rush I get from a bowl at Field of Greens in downtown West Palm.
Check out this guide to my 5 favorite bowls around town.
Fill up for a few hours at The Bee
Toppings like homemade granola (to die for) and fresh raspberries please me more than the acai does. This is because it’s blended with banana and mylk (milk substitute) so the taste of the tart berry is not as potent and melts really fast. Trust that you’ll be served a hearty amount of deliciousness, though. More than enough to fill you up until your next meal.
Location: 123 Datura St, West Palm Beach
Cost: $12 or $13
Satisfy your sweet tooth at Field of Greens
Lil Root is my go-to bowl at Field of Greens. It’s cheap and small enough to eat on the go. The nutella on top of the freezing cold acai is all the sweet I need, so I usually skip the drizzle of honey on top.
Jaya Nutrition Bar is as beautiful and welcoming as its owner, Cecile Alfonzo-Antoine, who designed the place herself.
Your acai bowl will be served in a white paper container with a handwritten, motivational phrase on it — a conversation starter for anyone. The bar’s acai has no coloring agents and is low in sodium. All of these elements make me happy.
I upgraded from the Cacao Crunch Bowl to the Green Cacao Crunch Bowl. You know, something a little more green with added superfood powder, kale or spirulina. It’s not as sweet as some of the other bowls on this list but still tasty and undeniably healthy.
The freezing cold, perfectly textured organic acai is what I love about the bowls at Celis. Prepared with acai ahead of time, when you order your bowl, all they have to do is add peanut butter, hemp/flax granola, honey, bananas, strawberries and kiwi. It allows for a bit of everything in every bite.
“Customers love our bowls because of the quality of our ingredients. The fruit is always fresh, never frozen and the granola we use is airy and crunchy,” Alex Celis, Co-Owner of Celis Produce, said.
Bonus Points: Celis is just a few steps away from The Palm Beach Post building, which is a gift for my taste buds and a curse for my pockets.
Location: 2814 S Dixie Hwy d, West Palm Beach
Cost: Between $10 and $12
Get your superfruit serving Whole Foods
You won’t be able to order an acai bowl at Whole Foods, but you can get your acai fix through various drinks, bars and supplements.
Personally, I can’t imagine skipping out on a bowl for a drink that costs just as much, but hey, that’s me.
For anyone who has been skeptical about the hype hovering over acai and acai bowls, I get it. Everything in the bowl can be thrown into a blender and taste just as good as a smoothie.
But it’s satisfying to spend a little more time with colorful (and healthy) variety of textures that melt in your mouth, airy granola that has the right amount of crunch or thick and handmade almond butter that sticks to the roof of your mouth.
A bowl from any of the locations on this list are at least worth a taste test, but don’t rush through it. Challenge yourself to pay attention to your tastebuds and your mood, then tell me what you think.