New chef takes over at Grato restaurant in West Palm Beach

Buccan Group cooks: Chef/partner Clay Conley (center), with Buccan's executive chef Jeremy Shelton (left) and Grato's new executive chef Jimmy Strine. (Contributed by LibbyVision.com)
Buccan Group: Chef/partner Clay Conley (center) is shown here with Buccan’s executive chef Jeremy Shelton (left) and Grato’s new executive chef Jimmy Strine. (Contributed by LibbyVision.com)

Café Boulud’s loss is Grato’s gain. Former Boulud executive sous chef Jimmy Strine is the new executive chef of Clay Conley’s Grato, the hot trattoria that’s taking West Palm Beach’s Flamingo Park neighborhood by storm.

“We are thrilled to have Jimmy join our team,” says Conley, Grato’s chef and co-owner. “He is not only a very talented cook, but a mature leader as well. We are lucky to have him.”

Strine and Conley worked three minutes away from one another for years. Conley is also chef/partner at Grato’s big sister restaurant, Buccan, which is located a block east of Café Boulud in Palm Beach.

“I’m feeling great about being a part of the team,” says Strine. “Clay has always been a staple in the community and I am most excited about making this the best restaurant in the county.”

A respected chef who competed against top local chefs to win last year’s Chef vs. Chef summer throwdown series in Delray Beach, Strine has also competed in Cochon 555, the national, invitation-only, snout-to-tail pork competition.

Before coming to work at Café Boulud, Strine was chef at his own restaurant, Mick’s New American Bistro in Frederick, Md.

Strine comes to Grato from a strong, creative kitchen. Most recently at Boulud, Strine worked under the direction of executive chef Rick Mace, who takes a storyteller’s approach to food. Mace’s sense of adventure earned him “Best Chef” status in The Post’s 2015 Critic’s Choice Awards.

Strine joins Grato just days after the restaurant launched daily lunch service.

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Palm Beach panache: Peek Cafe Boulud’s sunny, new look

Relocated and resplendent: Cafe Boulud has a sleek new bar. (Photo: Noah Fecks)
Relocated and resplendent: Cafe Boulud has a sleek new bar. (Photo: Noah Fecks)

Don’t expect uber-chef Daniel Boulud to make too much of the recent revamping of his Café Boulud Palm Beach. He won’t spin it to sound hip or trendy – he has little use for such ephemeral qualities.

“We wanted to refresh the place. We wanted to open the place up, to create a more airy, light, sunny feeling,” he says on a recent day as the early afternoon sunlight picks up the sleek lines of the dining room’s new central focus: an under-lit, U-shaped bar.

Yes, this bar just might attract a younger, more hip crowd of Palm Beach diners. But that doesn’t mean Boulud is hoping to trade the island’s iconic blue blazers for hipster beards.

“We have to be consistent in what we do. We don’t try to be a trendy place. We want to be a quality place,” says Boulud.

The glowy new bar is now the dining room's focal point. (Photo: Noah Fecks)
The glowy new bar is now the dining room’s focal point. (Photo: Noah Fecks)

Those who may believe Boulud might gild the menu to match the new, glowing bar may not grasp the chef/restaurateur’s café concept.

“The food is trying to be very tasty, not very refined,” he says.

Read the full story on the iconic Palm Beach eatery here.

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.