Restaurant of the week: seafood with a water view in Delray Beach

The jumbo lump crab cake at Hudson restaurant in Delray Beach on June 2, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
The jumbo lump crab cake at Hudson, Delray Beach. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

South county pick: HUDSON DELRAY

There’s nothing like a sparkling water view to remind us we live where many others vacation. Add a menu of expertly prepared seafood dishes and you’ve got a destination spot.

Executive chef Paul Niedermann inside Hudson restaurant in Delray Beach on June 2, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Executive chef Paul Niedermann.

Hudson Delray presents a solidly American menu with notable flair, thanks to executive chef Paul Niedermann, a past winner of “Hell’s Kitchen.” His lemony, olive oil-poached shrimp hum with hints of jalapeño and his crab cake rendition is chock-full of crab meat.

Those delicacies come at a price – this is not an inexpensive eatery. But with a newly debuted outdoor bar, Hudson has rolled out drink specials to greet football season. They’ve got game day covered on their many TV screens and promise to pour you a free draft beer if you wear your team’s football jersey.

Happy hour is also a good time to check out the outdoor and indoor bars – it runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, serving half-price drinks.

Hudson, at Waterway East: 900 E. Atlantic Ave., #22, Delray Beach; 561-303-1343; HudsonDelray.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

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Mediterranean at midday: Apeiro Kitchen opens for lunch

Apeiro is located at the Delray Marketplace. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)
Apeiro is located at the Delray Marketplace. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)

Fans of Apeiro Kitchen & Bar can now indulge in some of their Mediterranean favorites at lunch time. The suburban Delray Beach eatery, co-owned by restaurateur Burt Rapoport, rolled out a new, nicely priced weekday lunch service on Thursday.

The lunch menu’s “10 for $10” focus features 10 of chef/co-owner David Blonsky’s most popular dishes, served in lunch portions. Among these favorites: curry chicken salad, crispy eggplant, veggie omelet, chicken pita with fries and salmon salad.

Also on the menu: small plates, salads, flatbreads and desserts.

Margherita flatbread at Apeiro in Delray Marketplace Tuesday, May 26, 2015. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)
Margherita flatbread is served at Apeiro, Delray Beach. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)

Hours: Lunch is served Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday during those hours.

Apeiro plans a second location next month in Midtown Miami.

Apeiro Kitchen & Bar: 14917 Lyons Rd., Delray Beach; 561-501-4443; ApeiroRestaurants.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

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New on Clematis Street: The Dispensary diner and soda fountain

The Dispensary, West Palm Beach. (Contributed)
The Dispensary, West Palm Beach. (Contributed)

The Dispensary, a daylight eatery and soda fountain, has opened on Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach. The retro-hip spot is located inside the Center City Pharmacy, where The Vegan Café briefly operated.

On the menu: hefty breakfast dishes, including four types of Eggs Benedict, shrimp and grits, huevos rancheros, chicken fried steak, smoked salmon on bagel, waffles and biscuits with gravy. Lunch offerings include chickpea soup, potato soup, tons of fresh salads, burgers and sandwiches (BLT, prime rib, cheddar-Gruyere grilled cheese), various sides and daily specials. Soda fountain favorites, like shakes and sundaes, are served as well.

“People are loving the food,” says co-owner Christian Wiebel, a local restaurant veteran who most recently worked at the now-closed Garage VV in Northwood.

He opened the new diner with partner Gregory Galgano on Sept. 1 as an intimate, 45-seat eatery.

“We want to add more tables, but we want to start small, with a chance to grow. For now, we want to keep it small,” says Wiebel.

Clematis Street's newest diner has outdoor seating. (Contributed)
Clematis Street’s newest diner has outdoor seating. (Contributed)

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the full menu offered till 5 p.m. (From 5 to 7 p.m., soda fountain items, croissants and packaged salads are offered.) Open Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; closed Sunday. Hours are expected to expand in season.

Online ordering is available.

The Dispensary: 416 Clematis St. (inside Center City Pharmacy), West Palm Beach; 561-990-2555; TheDispensaryWPB.com

TWITTER: @LizBalmaseda

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Restaurant pick of the week: Daylight eatery dazzles Dixie Highway

Aioli chef/ co-owner Mike Hackman. (Contributed by Kali De Vries)
Aioli chef/ co-owner Mike Hackman. (Contributed by Kali De Vries)

Central county: AIOLI

It’s easy to understand why this small daylight eatery does a brisk take-out business: The food is fresh and delicious.

Chef/co-owner Michael Hackman’s daily special are posted online every morning, and they tell the story of an inspired local cook devoted to local ingredients. Hackman, who operates Aioli with his wife, Melanie, gives a luxurious touch to a strip-plaza, Dixie Highway lunch. Sample the light-yet-creamy custard of his daily quiche and you’ll know this is true.

A lush blueberry-molasses muffin is baked on premises and served at Aioli, a cafe and juice bar in West Palm Beach. (Contributed by Christine DiRocco)
A lush blueberry-molasses muffin is baked on premises and served at Aioli, a cafe and juice bar in West Palm Beach. (Contributed by Christine DiRocco)

In addition to breakfast and lunch offerings (hot and cold sandwiches, soups, salads, fresh juices), the chef also prepares a “dinner to go” option daily for those who crave Aioli at night. Recent dinner options include whole roasted free range chicken, roasted tomatoes stuffed with Moroccan couscous, beef lasagna, roasted veggie lasagna and house-made veal cheek ravioli.

Aioli: 7434 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-366-7741; AioliWPB.com

Twitter: @LizBalmaseda

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Palm Beach’s Cafe Boulud to feature an Oktoberfest beer garden

The Brazilian Court's courtyard becomes the setting for an early Oktoberfest biergarten with local breweries at Cafe Boulud. (Contributed)
The Brazilian Court’s courtyard becomes the setting for an early Oktoberfest biergarten with local breweries at Cafe Boulud. (Contributed)

 

Why wait for October when you can celebrate Septemberfest?

Palm Beach’s Cafe Boulud is getting a head start on Oktoberfest by partnering with several local breweries for a spectacularly paired biergarten on Sept. 25.

It’s a juxtaposition worth drinking to: Internationally renowned chef Daniel Boulud’s epitome of white-linen, fine dining on Palm Beach island hosting a beer garden with some of the best craft breweries in Florida, including three from Palm Beach County.

Executive chef Rick Mace will set up four dining stations around the courtyard of the historic home of Cafe Boulud, The Brazilian Court, where Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing, Tequesta Beer Co., Twisted Trunk Brewing, and Barrel of Monk’s Brewing will be serving a variety of their beers.

Mace’s offerings will include the following: a station dedicated to river oysters, clams, mussels, and marinated squid; a sausage station with Thai links, chorizo and boudin noir; one dedicated to three kinds of sliders; and a dessert station with French tarts and American pies.

Among the beers are several hard-to-find offerings, including Cigar City’s pumpkin beer, Good Gourd, which they produce just once a year, Barrel of Monks’ Three Fates Belgian tripel and Tequesta’s Der Chanellor pilsner.

Tickets to the event are limited and cost $75 a person, $65 for groups of four or more. They can be purchased by calling 561-655-6060.

Restaurant pick of the week: something to purr about in Palm Beach

The club sandwich at The Leopard Lounge features avocado and egg. (Palm Beach Daily News file)
A club sandwich at The Leopard Lounge, Palm Beach. (Palm Beach Daily News file)

Central pick: LEOPARD LOUNGE

Oh, sure, this place is great at night for Palm Beach people-watching amid black lacquered walls, shiny leather banquettes and leopard print carpeting. But there’s more to the Leopard than the lounge and dinner scene. There’s excellent service, the “welcome” of hot rolls tucked into a basket, and delicious lunch.

The chicken schnitzel ($22) is a thing of beauty: Chicken breast that’s tender and juicy chicken beneath a crispy, buttery crust is topped with lemon béchamel sauce and served with haricot vert and French fries. Order the schnitzel as part of the Flavor Palm Beach lunch menu during the month of September and you can get an appetizer (like shrimp cocktail) and dessert (like double chocolate Belgian cake), all for just $20, plus tax and tip. That’s something to purr about.

The Chesterfield Hotel revamped its rooms and famous Leopard Lounge in 2011. (Chris Salata/ Palm Beach Daily News) 120711 PBDN Chris Salata 4 Photos
The Chesterfield Hotel revamped its rooms and Leopard Lounge in 2011. (Palm Beach Daily News)

Leopard Lounge: 363 Cocoanut Row (in the Chesterfield Hotel), Palm Beach; 561-659-5800; ChesterfieldPB.com

Twitter: @LizBalmaseda

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Goodbye grub: Blondies diner closes in Tequesta

The blondes: Courtney and Meghan Conran, shown here in September 2014. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)
The blondes: Courtney and Meghan Conran, in Sept. 2014. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)

Blondies, the Tequesta diner that fixed many a breakfast-for-dinner craving, has closed.

Sisters Meghan and Courtney Conran, the blondes that inspired the diner’s name, opened the strip-plaza eatery in September 2011. They served a menu of dishes inspired by family recipes, such as the “Beezy Cakes” flapjacks named for their cousin Bridget and their Grandpa Bill’s Monte Cristo.

The sisters posted a note on the diner’s website, saying they were unable to agree to new lease terms on the space.

“We want to thank everyone for supporting us throughout the years and giving us the best customers we could ever ask for,” said their note. “We are actively seeking a new location, so be on the lookout for a new Blondies in the future.”

Related: Goodbye, grub – Closed restaurants in Palm Beach County

Twitter: @LizBalmaseda

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National Oyster Day: Deals at Boca, Delray restaurants

The oyster bar at Racks Delray. (Thomas Cordy/ Palm Beach Post)
The oyster bar at Racks Delray. (Thomas Cordy/ Palm Beach Post)

National Oyster Day doesn’t arrive until Wednesday, but some south county eateries are kicking off their celebration today.

Restaurateur Gary Rack’s restaurants – Racks Downtown Eatery + Tavern in Boca Raton and Racks Fish House + Oyster Bar in Delray Beach – are running buck-a-shuck deals through Thursday.

The deal: Blue Point oysters are $1 each from open to close. The oysters are sold by the half-dozen.

Racks Downtown Eatery + Tavern: 402 Plaza Real, Mizner Park, Boca Raton; 561-395-1662

Racks Fish House + Oyster Bar: 5 SE Second Ave., Delray Beach; 561-450-6718

MOLLUSK MADNESS: FIVE PLACES FOR OYSTERS (AND CLAMS) 

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Best restaurants of 2015 (so far): Palm Beach County, Treasure Coast

Jereve Culinary Studio, West Palm Beach. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
Jereve Culinary Studio, West Palm Beach. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

I am not quite done devouring 2015, but I have feasted on my share of excellent dishes. Here’s my half-time report on my favorite reviewed restaurants so far this year.

JEREVE CULINARY STUDIO

Jereve's palm hearts with kohlrabi, mango, and bread crumbs. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
Jereve’s palm hearts with kohlrabi, mango, and bread crumbs. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)

They call this West Palm Beach eatery a studio for good reason: The food is a work of art. But beyond the stunning presentations on the plate, the food is delicious.

The restaurant is tucked into the multiuse EmKo art space on South Dixie Highway in the Flamingo Park neighborhood, and its positioning makes sense: beautiful, thoughtful dishes served in a setting where creativity is celebrated and encouraged.

Jereve: 2119 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; 561-227-3511; EmKoPB.com

MEAT MARKET

Meat Market's mammoth dry-aged Prime Certified Angus, 32-ounce porterhouse steak. (Bill Ingram/ Palm Beach Post)
Meat Market’s mammoth dry-aged Prime Certified Angus, 32-ounce porterhouse steak. (Bill Ingram/ Palm Beach Post)

Welcome to the sexiest steak house in Palm Beach County, where the cuts are stellar and the service is sensational.

Chef-restaurateur Sean Brasel’s hard work has paid off, as have the countless miles he’s logged between the 10-month-old restaurant and its original Meat Market location in Miami Beach. Start with a fresh tuna tartare and a glass of chilled wine at the bar, where happy hour is a refined affair. Then settle into a seat at the dining room for an extraordinary meal. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth the splurge.

Meat Market: 191 Bradley Place, Palm Beach; 561-354-9800; MeatMarketPalmBeach.com

THE GRILLE FASHION CUISINE

Executive Chef Clay Carnes, The Grille, Wellington. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)
Executive Chef Clay Carnes, The Grille, Wellington. (Bruce R. Bennett/ The Palm Beach Post)

Rising star chef Clayton Carnes has no use for bells and whistles. He relies on premium ingredients and mad skills. The secret behind The Grille’s quality and success is as simple as that.

There’s little wonder why Carnes won an episode of Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen,” and, more recently, a semifinals round in the summer-long Feast of the Sea’s Chef’s Challenge Series.

At The Grille, his menu is simple and accessible, and it’s inspired by what’s fresh, local and prime.

The Grille: 12300 South Shore Blvd., Wellington; 561-793-2110; TheGrilleFashionCuisine.com

DISTRICT TABLE & BAR

District Table's roasted grass-fed marrow bones are served with onion crust, IPA mustard, herbs and toast. (LibbyVision.com)
District Table’s roasted grass-fed marrow bones are served with onion crust, IPA mustard, herbs and toast. (LibbyVision.com)

This cozy and casual eatery, which sits in a quiet suburban plaza in Stuart, is where Chef Jason Stocks and his wife Mirka Stocks pay homage to local and regional ingredients.

The chef’s Southern roots – he’s a Palm City native – are evident throughout District Table’s eclectic menu. Whether it’s his Sweet Tea Fried Chicken and jalapeño-cheddar waffle, his deviled yard eggs or his insanely good beef tartare, the chef’s talent is revealed daily in dishes that are worth driving many miles to enjoy.

District Table: 900 SE Indian St. (heading north on U.S. 1, turn left on Indian Street), Stuart; 772-324-8357; DistrictTableAndBar.com

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